Peters knows what to do during bowl week
This is the popular UH defensive back's fourth Hawaii Bowl
Pardon Leonard Peters if the week leading up to the Hawaii Bowl is no longer a novelty for him.
The sixth-year Hawaii safety has played in the game every time UH has, going back to his redshirt freshman season of 2002. The one time since then the Warriors didn't qualify for postseason was last year, when Peters was out with a knee injury.
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL
Arizona State vs. Hawaii
Where: Aloha Stadium
When: Sunday, 3 p.m. (stadium turnstiles open at noon)
TV: Live on ESPN
Parking: $5. Lot gates open at 10 a.m. Alternate parking at Leeward Community College (free, $2 shuttle), Kam Drive-In ($5, free shuttle). Occupants of first 500 vehicles at Leeward and Kam Drive-In receive two (per vehicle) certificates for 32-oz. soft drinks in the stadium. Parking also at Radford High School ($3, no shuttle). No tailgating at alternate parking sites.
Stadium security: Fanny packs, purses and backpacks and handbags will be permitted subject to check. No illegal contraband, weapons, fireworks, coolers, cans, bottles, air horns, noisemakers, umbrellas, outside food or beverages are allowed inside the stadium gates.
Tickets: Adults, $15-$45; North end zone general admission child, $10. Call (808) 548-2695.
"He ought to get a letter for that, four of 'em," Hawaii coach June Jones said.
Peters has the routine down.
"Everything we do during the week is the same every year. I'm sure at the luau I'm going to get up and dance because I know the dance now," Peters said yesterday, after practice in preparation for Sunday's game against Arizona State (7-5) and before the Warriors (10-3) checked into their Waikiki hotel rooms.
He also has a closet full of Hawaii Bowl shirts -- and Hawaii Bowl memories.
"My best is the triple overtime. I made the last tackle," Peters said, referring to UH's wild 54-48 win over Houston in 2003 that ended with a brawl. "They were all fighting and I was lying down on the ground. I was too tired to fight."
Peters has played most of his career hurt, and this year was no exception. He suffered torn rib cartilage in the season-opening game at Alabama.
"He's finally running like he's healthy," Jones said. "The time off (since the Dec. 2 regular-season finale) has a lot to do with it. He played hurt all year. This will be a fun game for him to play, close to 100 percent."
A good performance Sunday by the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Peters could get him noticed by NFL scouts. When he's healthy, he has the speed to run 40 yards in 4.4 seconds.
Solid play by inside linebackers Adam Leonard and Solomon Elimimian and strong safety Jake Patek cut into his tackles this year. But Peters was still third with 68 stops. He also returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns.
And all while playing hurt.
"He's been a true warrior," defensive backs coach Rich Miano said last month. "You can't ask for more."
Off the field, Peters has been one of the most visible Warriors in the community as a popular choice for public appearances.
And this week, the recent graduate doesn't have to drive all the way from the North Shore to Manoa as he did every day for UH's early morning practices and a full day of school.
The first-team All-WAC performer knows the Hawaii Bowl-week drill by heart: water park, Pearl Harbor, hospital visit ... but that doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate the week in Waikiki and what it represents.
"We're hardly ever going to see these guys again, so we want to bond together and enjoy the festivities," Peters said. "I'm excited and glad we got to rest these two weeks and we get one more game."
Warriors quarterback Colt Brennan was named the winner of the Sammy Baugh Award yesterday. It is given annually to the nation's best passer by the Columbus (Ohio) Touchdown Club.
Brennan, who was sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting, was cited for leading the county in most significant passing statistics this season. He needs one touchdown pass Sunday to match the single-season record of 54.
Hula Bowl is on:
The Hula Bowl will be played Jan. 14 at Aloha Stadium, stadium spokesman Patrick Leonard said.
Stadium management received payment yesterday from the game's ownership for expenses from last January's game, clearing the way for next month's event.
"We're thrilled we can move forward and continue this Hawaii tradition," Leonard said.
Peters, running back Nate Ilaoa, defensive ends Mel Purcell and Ikaika Alama-Francis and offensive tackle Dane Uperesa have been invited to play in the college all-star game.
Price is right:
Hawaii football fans may remember Arizona State senior cornerback Chris Price. He was briefly a member of the UH squad before transferring to Tempe.
The Hawaii Preparatory Academy graduate received first-team Academic All-Pac-10 honors this year.