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Friday, December 6, 2002


[UH FOOTBALL]



art
COURTESY ELIMIMIAN FAMILY / CIRCA 1995
Elimimian brothers, from left to right, Solomon, Abraham, Isaac Jr. and Jacob posed for a picture seven years ago. Abraham, who's with UH, and SDSU's Jacob face each other tomorrow.




Fraternal rivalry
takes to the turf

The brothers will be on opposite
sides of the field tomorrow

UH defense tries to stay healthy
5 Warriors on WAC first team


By Dave Reardon
dreardon@starbulletin.com

Jacob Elimimian wants to beat his brother Abraham very badly, in anything -- video games, one-on-one basketball ... especially tomorrow night's football game.



Brotherly love

>> Abraham Elimimian, 5-10, 173, sophomore, Hawaii, starting cornerback, 56 tackles, two interceptions

Jacob Elimimian, 5-10, 170, freshman, San Diego State, backup defensive back plays on most special teams, seven tackles



UH vs. SDSU

When: Tomorrow, 6:05 p.m.
Where: Aloha Stadium
Tickets: $23 sideline, $17 end zone, $12 students/ seniors, UH students free (super rooter only). Available at Aloha Stadium, except for student tickets at Stan Sheriff Center. Also at Ticket Plus outlets or by calling (808) 526-4400.
TV: KFVE, delayed, 10 p.m.
Radio: 1420-AM.
Note: UH will honor 19 seniors after the game with its traditional senior walk.



But not enough to give up his digits.

Earlier this week, Jacob's teammate, receiver J.R. Tolver, asked him for Abraham's cell phone number. Tolver wanted to talk some pregame trash to Abraham, the cornerback who matches up with him when Hawaii (9-3) hosts San Diego State (4-8) at Aloha Stadium.

Jacob declined.

"Nah, I couldn't do that," he said. "I want us to win, but I want him to 'ball' too. I can't have his mind (messed) up."

Like most brothers who are close in age, the Elimimians have learned there are limits to their sibling rivalry.

"It got out of hand sometimes," said Abraham, who at 20 is one year older than Jacob. "Sometimes there would be physical fights. One time when we were 13 or 14 I gave him a bloody nose and my parents were really upset.

"It's totally different now. I have respect for him. We're probably best friends, talk to each other three times a week."

Isaac Elimimian is proud of his sons. They are excellent college athletes and students. They call older people "sir" and "ma'am."

But he wasn't particularly thrilled the night of Oct. 25 when Abraham made the ESPN SportsCenter highlights -- for throwing a pylon in disgust after an official's call didn't go his way.

"I was surprised. He's usually very well behaved," said Isaac, a mild-mannered retired English professor from Nigeria who brought his family to America 15 years ago. "He said it was spontaneous. I understood, because I know football has a lot of emotion and imitation."

Actually, it was a reaction few can remember seeing before on a football field. The officials must have been befuddled or amused, because they let Elimimian stay in the game. Hawaii ended up beating Fresno State 31-21.

Isaac, who was a soccer player and swimmer in Nigeria, said his sons get their competitive nature from him. His willingness to take on the unknown -- Isaac went to Texas Christian for a master's degree and Howard for a Ph.D. -- was also passed on to his children.

When the family moved to California from Nigeria, Abraham was 6.

"It was a culture shock. I never saw white people before," he said. "Even though I spoke English, I had an accent. It was more fractured than what some locals speak here."

Abraham and Jacob (who, along with the rest of the family are dual citizens of Nigeria and the United States) assimilated quickly with the help of sports; in addition to football, Abraham had basketball and Jacob had wrestling at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles.

By his junior year, Abraham, who was 5-feet-10, knew football would be his sport in college.

"I think part of it was because (former UH defensive back) Doe Henderson was my coach and he had a lot of confidence in me," Abraham said. "Other schools didn't recruit me because I got hurt my senior year, but Hawaii stuck with me."

Warriors coach June Jones said Elimimian has worked hard to learn one of football's toughest positions.

"He busts his rear end, has a lot of pride in his work," Jones said. "He has natural skills to play corner. That's why we took him. Not off his football, off his basketball. He learned how to play corner while he was redshirting. I wouldn't want to line up with anyone else but him and Kelvin (Millhouse)."

Defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa said the most important skill Elimimian learned this year is how to forget.

"He's really matured that way. We play so much man and press that no matter how good you are you're going to get beat. The thing he and Kelvin have developed is short memories."

Jacob Elimimian almost joined his brother at UH. He considered transferring to Hawaii when San Diego State got a new coaching staff last year. But he is glad he stuck it out with the Aztecs.

"I thought about it a lot," he said. "But it turned out good, I'm getting my share of playing time, and I know I'll play a lot this week. I'm in a lot of packages, but I'm not going to tell you who I'm covering yet. I will tell you I am the guy who gets to go after Chad Owens on punts."

Said Abraham: "Is that what he said? That will be a good challenge for him."

They don't fight with each other anymore, but they still love to compete.

Abraham said Jacob is faster, but he is stronger.

Jacob said he is better in basketball and video games.

Abraham admits Jacob has more girlfriends, but Abraham said he gets "better quality" companionship.

It goes on and on, and after tomorrow night they'll have lots more to talk about.

"It's really competitive to see who is going to end up with the best legacy," said Jacob, who will find time to hang with Abraham any way he can before the Aztecs return to the mainland Sunday afternoon.

"If they say I can't spend time with my brother, I'll break whatever rule I have to to do so," he said.

Isaac hates to fly, and won't be at the game. But the boys' mother, Theresa, a psychologist who works at a rehab center, and sister, Elizabeth, a 3.9 student and volleyball and softball standout at Crenshaw, are here.

"When they come home to visit, all they do is play video games. They'll keep playing until they win the same amount of games and they always go away happy," Elizabeth said.

She knows that can't happen tomorrow.

"I don't care who wins," Elizabeth said. "Either way one of my brothers will have won a game."

Abraham Elimimian, 5-10, 173, sophomore, Hawaii, starting cornerback, 56 tackles, two interceptions

Jacob Elimimian, 5-10, 170, freshman, San Diego State, backup defensive back plays on most special teams, seven tackles

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|

5 Warriors named
to WAC first team



Five University of Hawaii players were named to the Western Athletic Conference football first team today.

Wide receiver Justin Colbert, offensive lineman Vincent Manuwai, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, defensive back Hyrum Peters and punter Mat McBriar made the first team. All are seniors except Peters, who is a junior.

Senior offensive lineman Lui Fuata, sophomore quarterback Tim Chang, junior defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, senior linebacker Chris Brown and junior cornerback Kelvin Millhouse earned spots on the second team.

Sophomore wide receivers Britton Komine and Chad Owens also received votes.

Undefeated league champion Boise State took three of the four top individual awards; running back Brock Forsey (offensive player of the year), defensive back Quintin Mikell (defensive player of the year) and Dan Hawkins (coach of the year).

Fresno State quarterback Paul Pinegar is coach of the year.




UH Athletics



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