Jackson returns to Aloha Stadium
The Utah State QB beat Kahuku when he led his prep team to Hawaii in 2002
A few days ago, someone asked Dick Tomey how to win a football game at Hawaii.
"Bring a good team," the former UH coach said.
That's what Leon Jackson III did three years ago when he was the Long Beach Poly quarterback. The powerhouse Jackrabbits beat the Kahuku Red Raiders 42-16 at Aloha Stadium as part of a high school doubleheader featuring two of California's best programs against two of Hawaii's best (De La Salle beat Saint Louis in the other matchup).
Jackson passed for two touchdowns and averaged 5.3 yards on three carries.
"It was a very pleasurable experience. Kahuku did a great job, and the residents of Hawaii were very hospitable," Jackson said. "It was definitely a big challenge to play Kahuku at Aloha Stadium."
Jackson gets another try at Halawa this weekend. He is now the starting quarterback for Utah State (2-6, 1-4 Western Athletic Conference), which makes its first WAC visit here Saturday against Hawaii (3-6, 3-4). The Aggies are 13-point underdogs.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore comes off his best statistical game. He passed for 372 yards and rushed for 57 more in a 27-17 home loss to Louisiana Tech.
He will reunite with former Long Beach Poly teammate Hercules Satele, a sophomore offensive lineman for UH.
"(Outside linebacker) Kila (Kamakawiwo'ole) asked me about the quarterback. I told him, 'Yeah, he can play a little bit,' " Satele said. "He's unpredictable. He's good in the pocket and taking off and running. I heard he likes to run a lot now."
Utah State defensive tackle E.J. Reid and cornerback Toriano Taulogo also played in that Long Beach Poly-Kahuku game -- for Kahuku. Both wanted to play at UH, but ended up in Logan when the Warriors didn't come calling. Reid (starting defensive tackle) and Taulogo (special teams standout) were both eager to return home today.
"I've got more than 50 relatives coming to the game," Reid said.
Reid said he never thought he'd end up being Jackson's teammate.
"In that game I thought he was a real good player, but kind of cocky," Reid said. "Now that I know him, he's a laid-back guy and a good leader."
Hawaii coach June Jones said the Warriors considered recruiting Jackson, who was a CIF first-team all star and turned down offers from Washington State and Kansas in favor of Utah State.
"We did see him, and we talked about him. But he's probably in a system that's probably better suited for him," Jones said.
Jackson leads the Aggies in rushing (312 yards) and passing (1,517).
"It's my destiny to be here," he said.
Peters back: UH fifth-year senior safety Leonard Peters returned to practice today, more than two months after a knee injury knocked him out of the season-opening game against USC.
He won't play this season, and will apply for a sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA. If he doesn't, Peters will try to get into an NFL camp. And if that doesn't work out, he'll pursue another of his passions, Polynesian dancing.
"Hopefully I'll get another year, if I don't, life's not going to end," he said. "But I hope I do get another year so I don't have to walk away wondering if I could've done it or not. I just want to get a full season and see what I can do. You don't know how much you miss something until it's taken away from you."
Jones said practicing the last month could help Peters regardless of the outcome of the NCAA petition.
"He's out, but we're trying to get him some confidence in his knee. But he's not going to play this year," Jones said. "I don't know (if he'll get the extra year). That's always up to the person that rules in the NCAA. But whether he does or not, he needs to know whether his leg is well, when he starts working out for the scouts and stuff."
Short yardage: Receiver Brandon Matano has returned to the team. ... Fans with military IDs can get two tickets for the price of one Saturday, as the game is designated at "Military Night." The offer is good for tickets purchased at Aloha Stadium and the Stan Sheriff Center. Also, fans can get four tickets for the price of two using a UH CreditBack Card. Both offers are available on game day at Aloha Stadium.