Sun Devils bring 3 players home
Arizona State's offensive line has a local flavor
All college football players hope to spend the holiday season getting ready for a bowl game. It's a bonus if they get to be at home doing it.
Arizona State arrives today for its Dec. 24 date with Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. The Sun Devils are technically the home team, and it really is fitting for three players.
"I find it real ironic," second-year freshman guard Shawn Lauvao said in a phone interview last night. "Of all the bowl games we could be in, we're in the Hawaii Bowl. This is great. I think I haven't been home in seven months."
His mother, Lee Leota-Lauvao, thinks it's pretty cool, too.
"The entire family's excited. This opportunity doesn't happen very often," she said. "I told him to make sure he can stay through the holidays. Most of the offensive linemen in his class of 2005 are Polynesian, so I'll be preparing a special meal for them."
Lauvao, a 6-foot-3, 316-pound Farrington High School graduate, was one of the most highly recruited athletes in the 2005 Hawaii football recruiting class. He's joined on the ASU roster by two other offensive linemen with local roots: sophomore starting left tackle Brandon Rodd (Aiea) and true freshman walk-on tackle Ian Scheuring (Radford).
Rodd earned honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honors this season. Scheuring redshirted, and Lauvao is the top backup at left guard. He's gradually received increased playing time, and contributed to Arizona State's regular-season-ending victory over Arizona on Nov. 25.
Lauvao said the Sun Devils will be extremely motivated to play well for coach Dirk Koetter, who was fired last month. Dennis Erickson was hired to replace him, but Koetter will coach ASU in the Hawaii Bowl.
"Since it's his last game we're going to push harder," Lauvao said. "We want to send him out on the right note."
After today's travel day, the Sun Devils (7-5) practice at Aloha Stadium tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. The first 30 minutes are open. Wednesday's and Thursday's are at 10 a.m. and Friday's workout starts at 1:30.
Hawaii (10-3) had yesterday off for graduation. The Warriors practice every day this week at UH from 7 to 9 a.m. The practices are open except for Saturday.
In anticipation of traffic congestion for Sunday's game, occupants of the first 500 vehicles parking at the alternate sites at Leeward Community College and Kam Drive-In will get two certificates per vehicle for 32 oz. drinks at the game.
"If we can get 1,000 cars away from the main lot, that helps a lot," Hawaii Bowl executive director Jim Donovan said.
The promotion begins at 11 a.m., when parking at Leeward and Kam Drive-In open. The main parking lot gates open at 10, and the stadium turnstiles at noon for the 3 p.m. game. Parking at Leeward is free, with a $2 fee per person for the shuttle to the stadium. Kam Drive-In is $5 per vehicle and free shuttle.
Around 36,500 tickets have been distributed, Donovan said.
JC defensive tackle Ray Hisatake (6-4, 320) completed his visit to New Mexico yesterday.
Hisatake, who said earlier UH is ahead of San Jose State and New Mexico, will meet with family members before announcing his school of choice.