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Saturday, July 26, 2003



[ ARENA FOOTBALL ]


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COURTESY HAWAIIAN ISLANDERS
Anthony Arceneaux of the Hawaiian Islanders proved to be too valuable to be sitting on the bench.



Anthony proving
he’s not just Darnell’s
little brother

The Islanders receiver is making
a name for himself as a playmaker


Anthony Arceneaux isn't just "the quarterback's little brother" any more.

While his previous football achievements had been largely overshadowed by the exploits of older brother Darnell Arceneaux, Anthony has emerged as one of the Hawaiian Islanders' most reliable performers on both sides of the ball during the arenafootball2 season.

"People have always doubted him and put a shadow on him because he was a little brother," said big brother and Islanders quarterback Darnell. "But he's his own man and he's really come out of his shell to prove that he is a good football player."

After a slow start, Anthony has become a key figure in the Islanders' offense with 27 receptions for 408 yards and eight touchdowns going into tomorrow's regular-season finale against the Bakersfield Blitz.

The rookie receiver/defensive back has also intercepted two passes and broken up five others to go along with 18 solo tackles on defense for the National Conference West Division champion Islanders.

"Anthony started off the season as green as can be in arena football," Islanders coach Cal Lee said. "He's progressed so much through his hard work that he's become a ripe apple right now. We really feel that he has been one of the brightest spots as far as progressing from where he started to where he is now."

Lee said Arceneaux didn't figure prominently in the Hawaii coaching staff's plans going into the season. After spending much of the first half of the season watching from the sideline, Arceneaux's effort in practice earned him increased playing time as the summer progressed.

Eventually, his production made it impossible for the coaches to keep him out of the starting lineup.

"The coaches just let me know as long as you keep working hard you'll get a chance and when you do get that chance you have to take advantage," Arceneaux said. "I feel pretty confident I have taken advantage of those opportunities."

Prior to this season, Arceneaux had been known mainly as Darnell's younger brother. Anthony played receiver at Saint Louis in the wake of Darnell's all-state high school career as the Crusaders' quarterback.

After graduating in 1999, he followed Darnell to Utah and walked on to the Utes' football team. While Darnell continued to rack up accolades, Anthony's college career ended when he was dismissed from the squad due to a violation of team rules.

After a year away from the game, Anthony resurfaced with the Islanders with a new outlook.

"It shows a lot about his character to not let things like that pull him down," Darnell said. "He's changed a lot, he's made a lot of sacrifices, changed his attitude toward life and he's a better person now. He grew up and he's a great man now."

Both brothers describe themselves as intensely competitive whether they're engrossed in a football game or a game of cards. But the sibling rivalry helped forge the bond between them as adults and both are grateful for the chance to finally take the field together.

"When you're young those things always happen," Anthony said of the brothers' rivalry. "But as both of you get older you realize you've only got one brother so the bond gets stronger and tighter and you care about each other more."

Anthony, 21, will team up with Darnell again in the fall, this time as Saint Louis coaches. When Darnell was named head coach of the defending state champion Crusaders last month, Anthony was among his first hires, as receivers coach.

"I was just honored to know that he has a lot of confidence in me and my knowledge of football," Anthony said. "He'll expect me to make sure that I handle my responsibilities, so that's a problem he doesn't have to worry about as head coach. There's going to be a lot of issues he's going to have to deal with and I don't want my position or my players to be one of his concerns."

While the brothers are preparing for their first season as high school coaches, they still have a few goals to accomplish as players going into tomorrow's game and the upcoming af2 playoffs.

"A lot of people didn't think we'd amount to anything this season," Anthony said, "and we proved a lot of them wrong just showing that the local boys here have talent, and when we stick together and work hard at something you can accomplish a lot."

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