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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 23, 2005

Warriors end college playing days

By Christie Wilson
Neighbor Island Editor

WAILUKU, Maui — Amid the chaos of post-game handshakes and fans scrambling for player autographs, former University of Hawai'i quarterback Tim Chang connected with receiver Chad Owens one last time.

Hawai'i quarterback Tim Chang greets Maui fans at War Memorial Stadium during yesterday's Hula Bowl. Chang and receiver Chad Owens played for the West team, which lost to the East, 20-13.

Christie Wilson • The Honolulu Advertiser

The Hula Bowl teammates, who provided Hawai'i football fans with so many thrills in recent years, embraced at midfield at War Memorial Stadium and shared warm words as both ended their collegiate careers.

It wasn't quite the finish they had hoped for, particularly Chang, who completed only three passes for a 38 yards in the West's 20-13 loss to the East squad. It was an uncharacteristic performance for the quarterback who is the NCAA's career passing leader with 17,072 yards.

Chang was hoping to make an impression on NFL scouts.

"In the practices I did, but I'm not too sure in the game," he said.

Reflecting back on his career at UH, Chang said he'll most miss "hanging with the guys off the field. That's what I love most about the game. To be honest with you, I can't remember all the plays but I can remember the bonds I've made with the great guys on this team."

Rib and ankle injuries almost kept Owens out of the all-star game. But he caught three passes for 16 yards and had a kickoff return for 33 yards.

Owens said the best part of his Hula Bowl experience was game day.

"Finally getting it over with. The best is yet to come. I get to go home tonight and see my family," said Owens, who, like Chang, has been on the road for two weeks on Maui and in San Francisco, where they both played in the East-West Shrine Game.

Former UH offensive lineman Uriah Moenoa and defensive lineman Lui Fuga also played for the West team.

Fuga said the Hula Bowl game zipped by too fast.

"It was a little bit intense and nervous at the same time because you're playing with great talent and you don't want to make mistakes," Fuga said. "But I did pretty good.... I just wish we could've won but we just couldn't pull it off."

Also playing for the West were Kahuku products safety Aaron Francisco of BYU and offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu of Utah.

Francisco said he was happy to play in front of local fans again. "And relaxing out in the sun by the beach, because I haven't done that in forever. There ain't no beach in Utah," he said.

Kemoeatu is spending a few days relaxing in Kahuku before returning to Utah to prepare for the NFL combines.

"It feels great to get it over with and hopefully move to the next level," he said. "I left it all on the field. I have no regrets."

Reach Christie Wilson at cwilson@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808) 244-4880.