Sunday, January 16, 2005

Former UH quarterback Tim Chang signed autographs after yesterday's East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco.

Owens’ big touchdown
a highlight in Shrine Game

SAN FRANCISCO >> With Penn State's Andrew Guman draped all over him, Chad Owens hauled in a 52-yard touchdown from Sam Houston State's Dustin Long in the fourth quarter of yesterday's East-West Shrine Game at SBC Park.

His celebration?

A casual toss of the ball. No smile and no gesturing to the crowd.

Maybe he was too exhausted to celebrate.

Whether he was catching passes or returning kicks, the former Hawaii receiver got his hands on the football plenty in the West's 45-27 defeat to the East.

And the Roosevelt alumnus paid for it with a few big-time licks.

"I'm going to be sore tomorrow, I'll tell you that right now," Owens said afterward.

The long touchdown was the highlight of an up-and-down day for Owens.

A few other local products also had their highs and lows yesterday.

Former Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang played the entire second quarter and part of the fourth before a boisterous cheering section but completed just seven of 20 passes for 81 yards and an interception.

Brigham Young safety Aaron Francisco, a Kahuku grad, delivered a couple of big hits on East ballcarriers in the first quarter. But he was part of a West defense that was victimized for 553 total yards.

Another Kahuku product, Utah offensive lineman Chris Kemoe'atu, saw considerable action but was slowed by an ankle injury he aggravated during practice.

Overall, the players enjoyed the week-long experience of visiting patients at Shriners Hospital and playing in front of a throng of NFL scouts.

"This whole week it was unbelievable," said Chang, a Saint Louis alum. "It was a great experience for myself and a great opportunity to meet a lot of kids."

In a game that featured 1,013 yards of total offense, Owens had a game-high eight catches for 134 yards and the touchdown, which came with the outcome already decided.

Owens got his day started with a 23-yard punt return that set the West up with great field position for its second touchdown drive, which put the West ahead in the first quarter 13-7.

He rotated into the game regularly at receiver and hauled in several medium-range passes.

His lowlight: a fumble deep in his own territory on a kickoff return just before halftime, but the East wasn't able to capitalize.

"On that fumble, I was just trying to make a play," he said. "I tried to make up for it."

At 5-foot-9, Owens needs to showcase his big-play ability to scouts in events like the Shrine Game.

He did so on his 52-yard touchdown grab, a play on which Long scrambled around to buy time before spotting Owens downfield.

About his low-key celebration, Owens said: "If I had scored on a punt return or something, I would have done something. Being a receiver, you've just got to act like you've been there before."

Chang, the NCAA's all-time leader in passing yardage, entered the game to a considerable ovation from different sections of the crowd. One fan held a sign that read "Let's go local boy, Timmy Chang."

Another read, "49ers Draft Timmy first."

But Chang found the going rough.

He connected with Owens on his second play for a 9-yard gain, but he later overthrew several receivers on a variety of passes.

His interception came on a fourth-and-4 play when he tried to force a ball through traffic to Owens.

"I needed to hit the receivers a bit more," Chang said. "I kept leading the tight ends, and kept forgetting they're not slotbacks."

Chang, who has hired Steve Dubin as his agent, spent the entire game dropping back from behind center, which he said would be his biggest adjustment after operating out of the shotgun with the Warriors.

"I was so much more comfortable as time went on (during the week)," he said.

Owens believes Chang simply needs more time to get familiar with a different style of offense.

"You've gotta love him. He's a great quarterback," Owens said. "Once he gets his timing down and gets used to throwing the ball in whatever offense he gets to, he's going to be a great quarterback. He showed it at the end."

Owens, who recently signed Leo Goeas as his agent, was referring to a fourth-quarter drive where Chang fired a strike to him on a post pattern and then found him again for a 5-yard pickup to put the ball at the East's 5-yard line for third-and-goal.

But Chang's next two passes fell incomplete.

Francisco saw heavy playing time throughout the game at free safety.

He made his presence felt early. Francisco laid a big hit on East running back Ryan Moats, a Louisiana Tech alum, early in the game on a sweep and later nailed Moats again on another outside run.

"That's always fun," Francisco said. "It was just great to be out there with such great athletes."

Francisco also appeared to have recovered a fumble on a punt return by Florida State's Dominic Robinson, but the play was ruled an illegal forward lateral and the East kept possession.

Francisco said he picked Cary Fabrikant of Goal Line Football Management to be his agent. He thinks he fared well in impressing scouts.

"I think it went pretty well," he said. "I'm sure it was tough for everybody to be in the spotlight."

Kemoe'atu played regularly at right guard, though he said his ankle hindered his performance. He suffered the injury in the Fiesta Bowl and re-injured his ankle slightly this week.

Kemoeatu said he's hired Ken Vierra as his agent.

"I think I did pretty well," he said. "I don't think I performed at my best effort. It was a great experience. I got to hang out with a lot of different players."

East 45, West 27

East 14 21 10 0 -- 45
West 13 0 7 7 -- 27

East--Moats 1 run (Rayner kick), 10:59.

West--Warren 1 pass from Anderson (kick failed), 8:19.

West--Jacobs 5 run (Payne kick), 5:35.

East--Stubblefield 23 pass from Orton (Rayner kick), 1:49.

East--Stubblefield 7 pass from LeFors (Rayner kick), 12:42.

East--Russell 36 pass from LeFors (Rayner kick), 5:43.

East--Russell 37 pass from LeFors (Rayner kick), :30.

East--FG Rayner 29, 7:29.

East--Stovall 29 run (Rayner kick), 6:08.

West--Jacobs 52 run (Payne kick), 4:52.

West--Owens 52 pass from Long (Payne kick), 6:04.


East West
First downs 22 20
Rushes-yards 34-176 26-159
Passing 377 301
Comp-Att-Int 19-33-0 21-53-2
Return Yards 3 33
Punts-Avg. 4-37.2 3-43.3
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 8-79 4-35
Time of Possession 28:59 31:01

RUSHING: East, Lumsden 5-41, Stovall 1-29, LeFors 1-27, Moats 11-27, Grant 7-24, Eckel 7-21, Fitzpatrick 2-7. West, Jacobs 11-102, Kretschmer 6-31, Purify 5-19, Matthews 2-7, Long 2-0.

PASSING: East, LeFors 10-17-0-165, Orton 5-10-0-145, Fitzpatrick 3-5-0-30, Stubblefield 1-1-0-37. West, Long 10-23-1-129, Chang 7-20-1-81, Anderson 4-10-0-91.

RECEIVING: East, Stubblefield 7-128, Robinson 5-112, Russell 2-73, Grant 2-19, Bergen 1-24, Stovall 1-23, Lumsden 1-(minus 2). West, Owens 8-134, Johnson 4-62, Warren 3-23, Amey 2-44, Matthews 2-(minus 9), Cross 1-29, Perry 1-18.

Shrine Game

E-mail to Sports Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com