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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Post-game pandemonium left some players without helmets

Photo galleryPhoto gallery: UH football practice
Video: Hawaii QB Brennan earns WAC honor
Video: Elimimian named top WAC defensive player
Video: Warriors’ coach talks about Washington game
Video: UH linebacker Elimimian earns weekly honor

By Stephen Tsai
HawaiiWarriorBeat.Com Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

University of Hawai'i football head coach June Jones squeezed in a phone call on the way to practice yesterday.

RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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What: Washington (4-8) at No. 12 Hawai'i (11-0)

When: 6:05 p.m. Saturday

Where: Aloha Stadium

Tickets: Sold out

TV: ESPN2, Ch. 21/224

Radio: 1420 AM

Line: UH favored by 14

Audio Webcast: www.espn1420am.com

Gates Open: 1:30 p.m. Lower Halawa Parking Lot (gates 3, 4), all other gates open at 2:30 p.m.

Aloha Stadium turnstiles open at 3 p.m.

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Hawai'i quarterback Colt Brennan and linebacker Solomon Elimimian yesterday won Western Athletic Conference player-of-the-week awards for their performances in a 39-27 victory over Boise State Friday.

But Brennan was most proud of what he did not lose during the post-game commotion at Aloha Stadium.

"I held on to my helmet," Brennan said.

Some of his teammates were not as fortunate. At least six dark-green Warrior helmets were taken after fans stormed onto the FieldTurf to celebrate the Warriors' first outright WAC football championship.

UH officials were able to retrieve helmets belonging to right tackle Keoni Steinhoff and defensive right end Karl Noa. "I dropped it on the ground when I went to tell my mom 'Hi' in the stands, and somebody swiped it," Steinhoff said.

But quarterback Inoke Funaki, linebacker Brashton Satele, wideout Greg Salas and running back Jason Laumoli were left bare-headed.

"I miss it," Funaki said. "I loved my helmet."

UH officials have asked for the safe return of the helmets. Although each helmet is valued at $200, the players want them back because it is too difficult to break in new ones. Satele has had the same dark green helmet for three years.

"Hopefully, somebody will bring it back," Satele said.

Funaki said his helmet was seized during the post-game festivities.

"I made my way eventually to the (makeshift) stage where the trophy was," Funaki said. "I jumped up on the stage, waving my towel. I was up there for a while. I put my helmet down between my legs. All of the fans were on the bottom. Finally, after being up there for a while, I said, 'Enough, I'm taking it in.' I reached down and it wasn't there. I don't know where it went. I assumed somebody grabbed it. It must be on someone's wall right now."

The helmets are adorned with Warrior stickers for good plays.

"I had a few decals," Funaki said. "It wasn't as decorative as Colt's helmet. But there were a couple of marks on there. Maybe this next home game we might have to use our silver (road) helmets."

Brennan said he wore his helmet as "protection" when the fans ran onto the field.

"When I saw people I knew, I took it off," Brennan said. "I was hugging people. As I was going over to the podium, I was getting lifted up. Some guy kind of grabbed it, and held my helmet up. All of a sudden, I thought he tried to walk off with it. I held on tight. I wouldn't let him walk off with my helmet."

Still, Brennan did not come away unscathed. A fan told The Advertiser's Kalani Takase that he has Brennan's used mouthpiece.


Defensive coordinator Greg McMackin has been named the lone member of the screening committee to choose a ring commemorating the Warriors' WAC championship. McMackin also was the UH defensive coordinator in 1999, Jones' first season as UH head coach, when the Warriors won a share of the WAC title.

"I was fortunate to get a few (rings)," McMackin said. "Miami's was nice. We got some good ones at Texas Tech."

McMackin has one mandate: think big.

It has to be "big on a kid, because they have big hands," McMackin said. "It has to be something worthy of what they've accomplished, you know, a lot of bling."

Na Koa, the football team's booster club, will pay for the rings.

"It needs to have a big ol' '1' on it," left guard Hercules Satele said.

Right slotback Ryan Grice-Mullins, who is considered the team's fashion plate, said: "They should let me design it. I'll put a little flavor to it. That seems like a fun project. I don't want a puny ring. I want something big and shiny."

McMackin said Jones will have the final say. Jones also will have to wait.

"We won't do anything until after the Washington game," McMackin said. "That's the most important thing. We're not thinking of rings at this point. "


The UH coaches selected slotback Davone Bess and safety Jake Patek as their top players in the Boise State game.

Bess set a school record with 15 catches. He regrets the way he behaved on one — a touchdown play in which he somersaulted into the end zone. The Warriors were penalized 15 yards, and had to kick off from their 15. The kick sailed out of bounds, giving the Broncos possession at the 50.

"It was a way of expressing how I felt," Bess said of the somersault. "I wasn't trying to showboat. I was trying to solidify me getting into the end zone and making a statement. I was disappointed because it was kind of selfish on my behalf, and I made my team back up when they kicked it off. It happens."

Patek, who suffered a tweaked ankle, is not listed as injured and is expected to start against Washington.


Running back Leon Wright-Jackson, who was raised in Washington, said he looks forward to competing against the school that recruited him as a high school senior.

His sister attended Washington, and he would have given the Huskies more consideration if they had filled the head coaching vacancy at the time.

"They didn't know who the head coach was going to be, so that drew me away," Wright-Jackson said.

He signed with Nebraska in February 2005, but left after a season with the Cornhuskers.

Wright-Jackson was available, but did not play against Boise State. Jones said it was because he planned to pass a lot, and David Farmer and Kealoha Pilares are the team's best pass-blocking running backs.

"It was just the situation," Wright-Jackson said. "I just have to wait."

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.