FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
At the Eastside Grill on University Avenue yesterday, fans watched the University of Hawaii football game against Louisiana Tech. Jett Jasper cheered as the Warriors scored their first touchdown in the first quarter.
HI hopes for UH
A packed University Avenue sports bar has loyal fans praying for football perfection this season
Aiea resident Mark Congdon's voice carried through a packed Eastside Grill yesterday during the first quarter of the University of Hawaii and Louisiana Tech football game.
"Suck it up," he yelled as the Warriors fell behind 14 to 0.
Several minutes later, UH scored its first touchdown and Congdon was up high-fiving friends and fans behind him.
With standing room only at the University Avenue bar, UH fans, students and alumni were back to back watching the TVs, following UH's quest for an undefeated season.
Several said they watched the game at the bar for its collegial atmosphere.
A self-described "sports fanatic," Congdon arrived at 10 a.m. to mark out a good spot in the restaurant -- a table right in front of the digital TV.
"We wanted to make a good investment on property," he said, commending his view.
His friend Bob Hogue, a Midweek sports columnist, remarked that Congdon gets excited when UH's schedule is announced.
Wearing a gray polo shirt with a UH logo, Congdon said he has 16 of the shirts and wears them seven days a week, including to work.
"I'm passionate about this program," he said, adding, "June Jones is the best coach in America, hands down -- and his staff."
Across from Congdon, friend and longtime UH fan Bob Souza said, "Mark can get the whole section cheering."
Souza, a 27-year season-ticket holder, watched UH's slow start with a hint of anxiety. Next weekend he will travel with Congdon to Las Vegas for the UH and University of Nevada-Las Vegas game.
"I'm a little nervous," Souza said with UH down in the first quarter. "I want so bad for them to win on the road, it just makes the pot a little sweeter."
Many fans said they hoped for a perfect season and a shot for UH to play in a Bowl Championship Series game.
UH senior Glenn Molina crossed himself in prayer when UH scored in the second quarter.
"I'm really praying that they get a perfect season," he said. A trumpet player in the UH band, Molina said the team needed the band's support and started scoring when he and his band friends arrived to watch.
He was proud of the national exposure his school was receiving and recalled how excited he was last season during UH's win against Purdue.
"I think I almost died at that game," he said. "I've never been that tense or more pressurized than that."
Molina, 21, hoped the team could play in a BCS bowl game so the band could go as well. Fan Clyde Elrod, who said he "bleeds green," said he was impressed by the Warriors' businesslike attitude and level of maturity.
"The first game you didn't see any showboating," he said. "We're on the verge of something great. I have my hopes very high."