CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Colt Brennan posed with Hawaiian Airlines employees yesterday after arriving at Honolulu Airport.
Warrior fans in Manoa cheer the team’s return
» Copper thieves blamed for cable outage during Sugar Bowl game
A handful of fans brushed off a light rain to greet the University of Hawaii football team at the Manoa campus yesterday upon their return from a loss in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
"We just came from the airport," said 13-year-old Anela Summers. "We thought we would be able to see them (there), but we weren't able to, so we followed them over here. I'm still really happy that they made it so far. They did really good this season."
Several of the fans said they were surprised that more people did not come out to welcome the team home after their accomplishments this year.
"I was kind of disappointed that I didn't see more fans," said Kawehi Apo. "But that's especially why we wanted to come. We weren't sure if the fans were going to be there for them."
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Colt Brennan received a lei and hugs from fans yesterday after returning to Hawaii from New Orleans. The UH Warriors, along with family and friends, flew back to Oahu yesterday after the team's New Year's Day loss to Georgia in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
The Hawaiian Airlines charter flight, jazzed up with a green H, arrived about one hour late in Hawaii because of strong head winds and requests for information from the Transportation Security Administration, a Hawaiian spokesman said. The flight touched down in Honolulu at 4:37 p.m.
The team arrived on the tarmac and was transported, without meeting fans, to the university campus.
John McNamara, associate athletic director/external affairs, said the university did not invite fans to greet the players because the logistics of getting players back home was complicated and the players needed rest.
"It would not have been the proper forum for that type of event," he said. "We felt it would be better to stage this in a more appropriate and organized fashion."
University officials are coordinating with state and county officials to hold a "Celebration of Champions" -- a week of events from Jan. 14 to 22.
Apo's daughter, Anela, held a green sign reading, "We still believe," when the team arrived on buses behind the Stan Sheriff Center.
It is important to support the team even when it loses, Apo said. "You still have to support the team for the good effort they put in," she said.
STAR-BULLETIN PHOTO BY AUGUSTIN TABARES
Fans cheered as the University of Hawaii football team arrived at the Manoa campus yesterday afternoon.
A crowd gathered around quarterback Colt Brennan as he descended from the bus, with white headphones sitting on his head.
"We've had great fans all year, and I'm really surprised to see them here today," a soft-spoken Brennan said. "We're just really, really sorry we couldn't have shown up and played better."
Candy Condos got Brennan's autograph and several other players' on a jersey and a magazine. "I got a hug from (player defensive linebacker Adam) Leonard," said Condos. The Hawaii Kai resident said she went to campus after to show the team "whether you win or lose, we're there for you."
Kaiana Ahmed, father of freshman Pookela Ahmed, said after the game fans are only more supportive of the team. He said, "Just because they lost this game, they didn't lose any love and support of the islands."
Rocky Savaiigaea, a sophomore defensive lineman, said it meant a lot to him to see the fans waiting for the bus.
Copper thieves blamed for cable outage during Sugar Bowl game
Oceanic Time Warner Cable said an outage that knocked out cable to tens of thousands of Hawaii customers during the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday occurred after suspected copper thieves severed a fiber-optic cable.
Officials filed a police report after technicians found a fiber-optic cable in Kalihi Valley bent at a 90-degree angle with several wires cleanly cut, Alan Pollock, vice president of marketing, said yesterday.
Screens went black at 5:15 p.m., during the second quarter of the much-anticipated game, which pitted the University of Hawaii Warriors against the Georgia Bulldogs. Service was restored by 5:50 p.m. for most customers.
"There was nothing we could have done," Pollock said at a news conference yesterday. "We're a victim of this. We're very sorry to our customers, particularly because of the game."
Pollock said the company is determining whether there will be any refunds for affected customers, but added this was a situation beyond its control.
A tree fell sometime before Tuesday, knocking the cable line to the ground in Kalihi Valley and making it easily accessible, Pollock said. Technicians believe thieves searching for copper in the wires bent and cut the cable, Pollock said.
"Unfortunately this was an act of malicious intent," said Pollock, who added there is no copper in Oceanic wires.
That cable provides service to 170,000 residents, but a majority of the Oahu customers did not notice an outage because of an automatic backup system. About 5,000 Oahu residents, particularly those in parts of Hawaii Kai, Punaluu and Kaneohe, were affected after the backup system failed.
Television screens for about 80,000 neighbor islands subscribers were fuzzy or black during the outage, which lasted about five to 20 minutes because it required manual backups.
The last time an Oceanic cable was vandalized was three years ago, also in Kalihi Valley, when someone climbed a pole to cut the cable line, Pollock said.
Pollock said the company received hundreds of phone calls from angry customers during Tuesday's outage. All broadcast and several cable channels were out, but most asked only about their connection to Fox, which had rights to televise the game.
Several residents affected said they would have been angrier if the game had been close or if UH was winning.
"It kind of put us out our misery a bit," said Lauren Conching, 25, of Kalama Valley. Conching, along with about 10 of her friends and family, watched the game on the Internet and a small battery-operated TV while waiting for the cable to return.