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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Fatherhood, 9-0 start please 'Aiea graduate

By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer

Two things are unique and very, very special in the life of Raymond Fonoti right now.

Raymond Fonoti protected Northwest Missouri State quarterback John McMenamin against Missouri Southern last month.

Darren Whitley • Northwestern Missouri State University

First is his son, Elijah, born 2 1/2 months ago. Next is playing on a college football team with a 9-0 record that could contend for a national championship.

Fonoti, a 1998 'Aiea High graduate, starts at left offensive guard for Northwest Missouri State, which is ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division II by the American Football Coaches Association.

Elijah is already being introduced to the technical aspects of the game. He accompanied dad Monday to a tape-evaluation of Saturday's 10-7 victory over sixth-ranked Central Missouri.

"Raymond is extremely affectionate with his baby," offensive line coach Bart Tatum observed.

Affection ends when Fonoti steps onto the field. "He is an exceptionally tough person," Tatum said, "very physical and really fearless."

Fonoti, who is 6 feet 3 and 315 pounds, "has great feet," Tatum said. "He bench presses about 450 pounds. With that strength, his mental and physical toughness, and the type of foot speed he has, you know you've got a lineman in the making."

Fonoti was recruited to Snow (JC) in Utah by Keith Uperesa, who is now an offensive line coach at Southern California. But when Fonoti finished his eligibility at Snow, he was three credits short of the AA degree necessary to transfer to a Division I school.

He would have had to return for another semester, and since he had already used a medical redshirt year and another season to rehabilitate an anterior cruciate ligament torn in 1998, he would have had only one year of eligibility in Division I.

Division II eligibility is not as restrictive and Fonoti found a home in Maryville, Mo., just south of the Iowa state line.

His wife, Heather, also is a student, which means stretching his football scholarship and student loans to cover all expenses. Fonoti babysits when his wife goes to class and vice versa. His only complaint is the cold. It was 28 degrees last night.

The thought of his family and an unbeaten season warms Fonoti. "9-0," he said. "I've never been 9-0 before in my life."

Rose resumes record pace at Harvard

Senior quarterback Neil Rose (University '98/Pac-Five, of Mililani) set three more records as Harvard defeated Dartmouth, 31-26, Saturday for its 11th straight Ivy League victory.

Rose, completing 72 percent of his passes, broke records he already held or shared in single-game completions (36), single-game passing yards (443) and single-game total yards (449). Rose, who missed two full games and portions of two others this season because of a back injury, threw three touchdown passes.

Harvard coach Tim Murphy said Rose's audibles were key in the victory. "We gave Neil a lot of latitude at the line of scrimmage, and he did a great job of getting us into the best play possible," Murphy said.

The performance earned Rose an appearance Monday night on Fox's "Best Damn Sports Show. Period." The irreverent anchors needled him about using a cell phone on the bench ("I'm talking to my coach in the press box," he explained. "We don't have enough head sets.").

He also told them that Harvard, although a Division I-AA team, would gladly play a "single A program, be it Miami or Navy. We'd play anybody."

Rose, who is Harvard's 129th football captain, holds 14 school records, including six broken or tied this year, and is on track to break three more career marks.

Harvard is 5-2 overall and shares the Ivy League lead with Penn (6-1, 4-0).

Botelho finds himself on receiving end

Last year, quarterback Joel Botelho was throwing the passes that took Castle High into the state semifinals.

This fall, wide receiver Botelho is catching passes for University of Montana-Western in hopes of helping the Bulldogs reach the NAIA tournament for the first time in seven years.

He caught six passes for 140 yards against Rocky Mountain on Oct. 26, including a fourth-and-10 grab that kept a drive alive in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs scored with 44 seconds left to win 31-28.

He also returned a kickoff 73 yards in that game.

Defensive back Saffery Silva (Moanalua '00) returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown against Rocky Mountain and had a 52-yard return earlier in the season.

This past Saturday, Montana-Western won by three points for the fourth time this year, edging Montana Tech, 24-21. Botelho caught his second touchdown pass, a 37-yarder.

Returning to quarterback may be in Botelho's future, but with a veteran at the position, coach Tommy Lee wants to make sure he has Botelho's talent somewhere on the field this year.

Montana-Western is 7-2, after going 2-8 last season, and jumped from 23rd to 19th yesterday in NAIA rankings. No. 5 Carroll (7-1) looms on the schedule Nov. 16 in the game that should determine the Frontier Conference championship.