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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 10, 2006

Warrior running back Kafentzis leaves team

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Freshman running back Mikhail Kafentzis has left the University of Hawai'i football team to take care of family matters in Oregon, UH coach June Jones confirmed yesterday.

"He's a good kid," Jones said. "He had some problems at home, and he wanted to go back to be closer to his family."

Jones said he recommended Kafentzis to Portland State football officials.

"I'm not sure if he'll play there or not," Jones said.

In the 2005 opener against Southern California, Kafentzis gained notoriety when he failed to run onto the field for the starting kickoff.

Kafentzis had said he was searching for his prescribed medicine, which was supposed to be placed on the sideline. Jason Ferguson, who volunteered to replace Kafentzis, suffered a season-ending knee injury during the return.

But Kafentzis rallied, eventually earning a spot on the Warriors' 60-player travel roster. He played in three games, starting one at running back.

Seven of Kafentzis' relatives played for UH.

"He was our fastest running back," Jones said of Kafentzis, who ran 40 yards in 4.38 seconds and 100 meters in 10.8 seconds in high school. "If he had stayed, he would have had a chance to contribute."

Jones also said it appears receiver/cornerback Brandon Matano has left the team. "I haven't seen him for a while," Jones said.

Jones said A.J. Martinez will move from wideout to cornerback for the March 21 start of spring practice. "We don't have many DBs this spring," Jones said. "He'll get a good chance to get on the field."

Last month, Martinez ran 40 yards in 4.41 seconds, the fastest of the 89 Warriors who participated.

In related news, Keith Bhonapha, who was with the Warriors for five years as a defensive back and three as a graduate assistant, has been hired as director of football operations at Boise State.

His duties include monitoring the academic program, assisting in the coordination of recruiting and overseeing the football camps.

"Boise is a good program, as Hawai'i knows," Bhonapha said. "I'm excited."

Jones said: "He's an impressive guy."

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.