Happy returns for ex-Damien teammates
Kama Bailey got the yardage. Kealoha Pilares got a touchdown and the win. And in the end it was the Damien faithful who were left smiling.
The two former Monarchs teammates faced off, sort of, for the first time as collegiate athletes and both came away with impressive bragging points.
The sophomore Pilares, who started at running back, rushed five times for 26 yards and a touchdown and returned two punts for a total of three yards in the Warriors win.
Bailey, a freshman who inherited punt- and kickoff-return duties at midseason, lost three yards on two punt returns but totaled 115 yards on kickoff returns, including one for 40 yards.
"It feels good to be home," Bailey said. "I'm just happy for the opportunity to play against Hawai'i. It was a little different playing (opposite of Pilares). I'm here to represent Idaho, but my heart is still with Hawai'i.
"Kealoha was good back at Damien and he's still really good," he said. "He had a great game and I'm happy for him that he's playing so well."
ALEXANDER'S STILL GOING
With his 24 pass attempts last night, quarterback Greg Alexander passed the century mark for attempts without an interception.
The official number stands at 116, still far short of Colt Brennan's record of 182 attempts without a pick-off. But Alexander has more immediate goals.
"I just want to try and not throw another pick this season," he said.
"I pride myself on not turning the ball over," he said. "It's something I think about and work hard at."
Alexander threw two interceptions in the Warriors' season opener at Florida but has gone untouched in the five games he has since played.
THE UBIQUITOUS TORRES
At just 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, redshirt freshman Richard Torres joined the team with few expectations and much to prove. But in seven games this season, the former Kahuku standout has proven difficult to keep off the field.
The diminutive but hard-hitting Torres has made an impact on special teams covering kickoffs and punts. Last night, he added kickoff returns to his playing resume.
Torres finished the night with three tackles (two solo) and a 25-yard kickoff return that helped set up Hawai'i's final touchdown of the evening.
"I caught the ball and I saw a white jersey coming at me, so I ducked down to take the hit," Torres said. "But he missed, and all I saw was open field."
Torres also recorded his first penalty of the season, a dubious face-mask call in the second quarter that helped extend an Idaho scoring drive.
"I didn't touch him," Torres said, laughing. "After the call, (the referee) said, 'Maybe it was 14 or 24?' "
Torres wears No. 19.
MORE INJURIES FOR UH
The Warriors' injury list grew deeper last night as running back Kealoha Pilares and defensive back Ryan Mouton both suffered injuries that kept them from returning to the game.
Pilares left in the third quarter with UH already holding a 28-10 lead.
"I just banged my knee, nothing major. I just hit it on the turf, came down hard on it," said Pilares, who said he does not expected to miss any games.
Daniel Libre, who replaced Pilares, rushed for two second-half touchdowns.
Mouton sustained a high, left ankle sprain after he recovered a fumble late in the first quarter.
"Somebody made a great hit, the ball popped out, I picked it up, I started making a move, but I was down," Mouton said. "This guy kept rolling and my foot got caught in the ground and he just rolled up on it. I'm all right though."
Mouton said he will be ready for Saturday's game against Washington State.
MOUTON PLAYS THE FIELD
Mouton started at free safety last night, the fourth different position he has started at this season. He has started at receiver, cornerback and kick returner this year. The rest of the starting secondary consisted of strong safety Erik Robinson and cornerbacks Jameel Dowling and Calvin Roberts. Desmond Thomas and Richard Torres also saw considerable playing time at safety.
Also, redshirt freshman Royce Pollard made his first career start at wide receiver yesterday.
"It felt pretty good," said Pollard, who started for Malcolm Lane. "Malcolm went in on kickoff return and I'm not sure what happened, but they told me to go in. I wasn't too nervous, I was ready to play, I was ready to go."
He caught a 12-yard pass from Greg Alexander on the Warriors' first play from scrimmage.
The Warriors' final two opponents both won tightly contested games yesterday. Washington State (2-10) edged rival Washington, 16-13, in double-overtime while No. 19 Cincinnati (9-2) took sole possession of the Big East Conference lead with a 28-21 win over No. 20 Pittsburgh. ... Idaho head coach Robb Akey was an assistant on the Cougars' staff for eight seasons from 1999 to 2006. ... Meanwhile in the Western Athletic Conference, Boise State (11-0, 7-0) clinched the WAC title yesterday with a 41-34 win at Nevada.