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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 31, 2002

Islanders topple Frenzy in thriller

By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Arena Football 2 season opener between the Fresno Frenzy and Hawaiian Islanders last night was thrilling, fast paced and went down to the wire.

Islander wide receiver Chris Paogofie picks up yardage after a reception against Fresno

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Just the way AFL co-founder Jerry Kurz had in mind 16 years ago when he started a league played indoors.

The af2 game, which featured two expansion franchises, started slowly, but ended with a wild 47-point fourth quarter, which featured one tie and four lead changes over the final 8:19.

In the end, the crowd of 4,376 at the Blaisdell Arena was treated to a shootout won by the Islanders, 50-47.

"It's Arena Football, and Arena Football is supposed to be fan friendly, high scoring," said Kurz, the Islanders managing director. "It started out slow but look how it ended."

The Islanders went up 44-39 with 2:08 remaining on a 5-yard pass from Darnell Arceneaux to Robert Kemfort.

Fresno took a 47-44 lead with 52 seconds remaining on a 35-yard pass from Ricky Ray to Eddie Klaneski, a former Damien and University of Hawai'i standout.

The Islanders started their final drive at their 5.

Arceneaux hit Isaac White with a 10-yard pass, which put the ball at the 15. After two incompletions, Arceneaux hit Darrell Jones on a 27-yard pass over the middle with 20 seconds remaining which put the ball at the 8. The pair hooked up again on a 7-yard strike before Arceneaux scored on a quarterback sneak with 7 seconds remaining.

"I got in there and I kind of veered off to the right and got in," Arceneaux said. "My heart was beating so fast."

Fresno took the ensuing squib kick and downed it immediately at the Islanders' 21.

Brian McCabe tried a game-tying field goal with 4.2 seconds left and the attempt went wide left. But an illegal procedure penalty on the Islanders gave McCabe another chance.

His second attempt also sailed wide left as time expired.

"I told him he did a good job because he did all night," Fresno coach Rick Worman said. "Everybody made mistakes over the course of the game."

Arceneaux, who completed 19 of 36 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns, threw 12 passes to Jones for 131 yards.

"Darrell is the man," Arceneaux said. "All I do is put the ball out there and he makes me look good. He's a receiver every quarterback wants."

Klaneski, who played in two indoor leagues in Hawai'i in 1998 and 1999, had 65 all-purpose yards for the Frenzy.

"I tried my best to do what I could do out here but we came up a little short in the end," he said. "But it was fun to be back home playing in front of the fans."

Fan Shari Vanconcellos was tricked into a good time by her husband last night.

"I wasn't even planning on coming, but I'm glad I came," said Vasconcellos of Kunia. "My husband said we were going to a show, then he finally told me what it was. It turned out to be really good."

The Islanders will have next week off.

"We've got to get healthy," Islanders coach Guy Benjamin said. "We're going to be bringing in some new players to strengthen this team."