Friday, August 20, 1999
Heat is on for
In the IPFL championship game,By Pat Bigold
Hawaii will have to deal with heat,
jet lag, hostile fans and, oh yeah,
regular-season champion Texas
The Hawaii Hammerheads could not have picked a worse time to be playing inside the Travis County Expo Center at Austin, Texas.
The outdoor temperature soared over 100 yesterday in the city. And it's supposed to stay in triple digits through tomorrow, when the Hammerheads take on the host Texas Terminators (12-4) for the Indoor Professional Football League title.
The arena has no air conditioning.
"It's gonna be like one of those Japanese prisoner of war camps where they put you inside a corrugated tin box," said Hawaii head coach Guy Benjamin.
"It's gonna be a sweat box."
WEB BROADCASTThe game will be broadcast live over
the Web beginning at 3 p.m. HST today at:
RealAudio player required.
Texas rested with a bye.
There's no question that the Hammerheads have the odds stacked against them playing in sauna-like conditions before a hostile crowd and the league's most prolific passer, former Longhorns quarterback James Brown (46 touchdowns and 2,667 yards).
Hawaii lost only four games on the road this season, but two of those losses came in April at the Expo Center.
The Hammerheads did upset the Terminators, 55-44, on July 3 at the Blaisdell. But three key defensive starters for Texas who were not on that trip will be ready tomorrow.
Benjamin was angry last night at the Hammerheads ownership and the IPFL for some major inconveniences his players were experiencing after flying all night to arrive in Austin yesterday morning.
"I have players right now who are hungry and we have no van, there is no airport shuttle and there's no where close enough to walk to get something to eat," said Benjamin at 11:30 p.m. Texas time.
"It's dinner time for these guys back home," he said.
Benjamin said he had requested a van before the trip for such situations, but team ownership would not budget it.
Benjamin's team had returned from practice after 11 p.m. The only restaurant at Hawaii's hotel closes at 10 p.m.
Benjamin said the reason the Hammerheads practiced so late was that arrangements made through the Terminators office to find a site for a night practice ("It was too hot to practice in the day," he said) fell apart.
"We were assured that the field they had for us had lights," said Benjamin. "We get there, and it has no lights."
Benjamin said his players are very much in a frame of mind to win tomorrow.
"Everybody over here is saying how good Texas is and the players are starting to get pissed off," said Benjamin.
"They want to win this for their own pride."
He said that his premier guard, Roy Ma'afala, will be back in action after a leg injury, as will Eddie Klaneski (ankle and thumb injuries) and Darrell Jones (bruised ribs).
Klaneski has scored five times this season against the Terminators.
There's yet another factor that could take even more out of the players in the stuffy Expo Center: brawling.
"Every time we have played Hawaii, we've had a little skirmish or brawl with them," said Texas head coach Duane Duncum.