RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan hung his head while on the bench yesterday during the fourth quarter of the Sugar Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans.
Fans’ trip ends in frustration
But Warrior faithful remain loyal at home and away
NEW ORLEANS » In the end, the 12th Warrior couldn't help get the job done.
Despite all the noise that University of Hawaii fans could muster in the Louisiana Superdome in yesterday's 74th annual Sugar Bowl, it was the strains of "Glory, Glory to Old Georgia" that would ring in their ears.
By the beginning of the fourth quarter, with the Warriors down 38 points to the Bulldogs, the 15,000 faithful who traveled such a long distance were still in their seats, while many of the 50,000 Georgia fans had already left. And when quarterback Tyler Graunke threw a touchdown pass to Ryan Gryce-Mullen, Hawaii fans finally had something to cheer about.
But there was a harsh reality to deal with beforehand.
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii fans cheered yesterday as the Warriors took the field before the start of the Sugar Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans.
With every successive sack and interception of star quarterback Colt Brennan, hopes of an upset victory dwindled. It would end with a brief television shot of a distraught Brennan on the sidelines, reduced to tears. This was not the showcase the Heisman Trophy finalist had hoped for, and it really hurt.
That's because traditional powerhouse Georgia had something to prove, and they did it with such ease it left Hawaii fans stunned.
The Bulldogs squashed the Warriors by taking the team out of its vaunted offensive game. "You can't pass the ball if you ain't got the time," was one overheard remark from a Georgia fan. All the Mardi Gras beads and ti leaves in the world couldn't help the Warriors.
Even the planned Hawaii card stunt at the first timeout of the second quarter didn't work out. The word "Hawaii," spread across several sections of UH fans, was unreadable and went unnoticed by everyone else in the stadium. The second planned card stunt, to display "Believe," wasn't even attempted in the fourth quarter.
But the fans still believed into the third quarter that the Warriors could make it a game.
"We've been down 21 before," said Fred Kalilimoku, father of linebacker Brad. "This is a good team. But it's just that Georgia loves to run the ball. Hopefully -- hopefully -- they can come back, because we believe in what they do. We gotta believe, but still, this is the first time us guys have ever been in such a big game."
Bulldog fan William Perry of Atlanta consoled the family of Guy Nishizawa of Aiea while in the concourse. "We're just mad that we weren't in the national championship," Perry said, "and we wanted to show that we deserved to play in that game. But we've had the most fun meeting the people in Hawaii while we've been here. We were shocked to see how many of you traveled to New Orleans. You guys represent your team well."
"Thanks," responded Nishizawa. "If only Colt would be given more time to throw by his offensive line, but they're tough to stop."
"But we have spirit and believe," chimed in Guy's young daughter Nicole.
"Hawaii looks scared. They're not used to the pressure," said Rand Pono of Pauoa. "This (Southeastern Conference) team is intense, and Hawaii's got to stop their running."
"This is not a regular team, this is Georgia," added Gabriel Weisbarth of Nanakuli.
UH supporter Jim Gosey of Slidell, La., said, "Georgia came well-prepared and had something to prove tonight. Basically, y'all ain't got the manpower to compete with an SEC team. They play with blinding speed. But we're glad y'all made it as far as you did."
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii fans filled sections of the stands of the Louisiana Superdome yesterday at the Sugar Bowl.
Warrior fan Susan Arnett, a deputy public defender in Honolulu, was still hopeful going into the last quarter. "After all, we made the (Bowl Championship Series). We're not through yet. Our much-maligned defense is playing great now. But I admit we're off tonight. This is all so new for our guys, and there's something to be said for going through this experience. It showed we would travel any distance to support our team."
Final score: Hawaii 10, Georgia 41.
Still, the Hawaii team and fans remained proud. The team joined the fans and the band on their side of the field to sing the state anthem "Hawaii Ponoi" and give one last resounding cheer. Even the remaining Georgia fans applauded their effort.
Cable outage knocks out game
A tree fell in a rain forest yesterday and nobody was there to hear it, but Oceanic Time Warner sure got an earful.
During the second quarter of yesterday's Sugar Bowl, a tree in Kalihi Valley fell and mangled some fiber cables, knocking out analog feeds for customers on the Big Island, Maui, Kauai and portions of Hawaii Kai and Kalama Valley on Oahu. About 95,000 customers were affected by the resulting cable outage.
Oceanic's phone lines were inundated with calls from customers.
The outage occurred about 5:15 p.m. late in the second quarter and for some customers lasted through halftime, with service returning at the beginning of the third quarter.
Kauai service was restored in about 25 minutes, and Big Island and Maui were back up in 35 minutes, after crews switched to backup fiber wiring, said Norman Santos, vice president of operations for Oceanic Time Warner.
Cable crews were on standby to address any problems on game day, but did not anticipate the tree falling, Santos said. Service is not expected to be interrupted while repairs continue today, he said.
"We had our technicians ready, but we can't be at all places all the time, and it's very unfortunate that it happened during this kind of situation," said Santos, who called from the Louisiana Superdome. "I apologize for what went on."
AGUSTIN TABARES / PHOTO@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH fans reacted to a play during the second quarter of the Sugar Bowl yesterday in the ballroom at the Dole Cannery.
Far-away fans suffer with loss
Support remained strong at Sugar Bowl parties around Oahu
Families and friends gathered in small groups and by the hundreds across Oahu to cheer the University of Hawaii Warriors.
"We're having a blast," said Julia Camanse of Honolulu, who attended the Creations in Catering Sugar Bowl Party at Dole Cannery with about 400 other UH supporters. "All the Warrior fans together and cheering on the team, we can feel the excitement when we're together," she said early in the game.
Fans -- about 100 more than planned -- filled the ballroom to watch the game for free on three 10 1/2-by-14-foot screens. Pupus, beer and Sugar Bowl souvenirs were available for purchase.
Creations' party was one of several gatherings to support UH against the University of Georgia Bulldogs in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. At Eastside Bar & Grill on University Avenue, hundreds watched the game on the bar's televisions.
In Laie, Hawaii Sports Hall-of-Famer Junior Ah You replaced his 17th annual New Year's Day Concert with the Stars with the Shugah Bowl Community Tailgate Party. There were two inflatable jumpers, three roast pigs and three large projection screens. About 80 showed up for an earlier tailgate party at Laie Park despite a light rain. Hundreds more were expected to watch the game.
Volunteer Rowena Reid said Ah You decided to hold the event because several UH players come from Laie.
Anticipation was high for the game at the Eastside Grill at Puck's Alley near the university. Owner Robbie Acoba said people were lined up outside at 11:30 a.m., two hours before the bar opened.
He told the 30 or so people the bar wouldn't open for another two hours. But before opening, a line formed again, and employees passed out Mardi Gras beads to customers before letting them in about 15 minutes early.
He said 200 people arrived for the game, but about 60 left by the third quarter when Hawaii was down by 35. Despite more than 100 people still present, the bar was quiet late in the game.
Tolly Amaxopoulous propped his head up with his hand on the bar table as he watched. "I'm disappointed," he said. "I had my hopes high for this game."
Jeff Konn was waiting for the Warriors team that he knows to show up for the game. "It's very painful to see it end this way," he said. "The outlook looks very bleak, but we all need to stay till the end. We're all very proud.
"That's why we like to go to the bars because we need some pain relief," he added.
Steve Komori had prepared the night before by watching highlights of the big games during the undefeated regular season.
"I'm not seeing the same offense I was used to seeing the last 12 games. Something that's changed this game, I don't know what it is," he said. "They're just not in sync. Maybe that's what it is. Overall they made it to the Sugar Bowl, still playing in front of everyone and the nation."
Like Komori, Acoba tried to see the bigger picture and remember the magical season. "People got to realize win or lose we're the WAC champions," he said. "It brought so many things for the state, the university, and everybody."
Lopaka Young, 24, watched the game with a few friends, some who were too shaken by Hawaii's defeat to comment.
"It's heartbreaking," said Young, who's loved the Warriors since he was 5 years old. "We don't want to say until the final zeros to admit we finally lost.
"But you cannot take away what they've done this season. They're still the pride of Hawaii. It would have been a great thing to start off the New Year (if they'd won)."
Conrad Vierra, 25, a restaurant cook, went to the Dole Cannery event to show support for the Warriors, since he couldn't make it to the game in New Orleans. He already was looking forward to next season and saw the Sugar Bowl as preparation for a tough schedule, beginning with the University of Florida.
"This is one test for them, to rough them up for Florida," he said.