IT took eight years, but the trouncing the University of Hawaii suffered in its only Aloha Bowl appearance has finally been avenged.
Spartans now know
how Rainbows felt
In 1989, the Rainbows had their heads handed to them by a bigger, faster and stronger Michigan State team, 33-13. Yesterday at Aloha Stadium, Washington spanked the Spartans, 51-23.
OK, so it's a reach to say a Washington win avenges a Hawaii loss from almost a decade previous -- when most of today's players weren't even in high school yet. But here's why I'm doing it, anyway:
A) Michigan State used to have a large local fan base, dating back to when Duffy Daugherty recruited players from the islands. But Washington has many more ties to Hawaii, within the rank-and-file students as well as among football players -- and a huge number of alumni who live here.
B) Yesterday's game was reminiscent of the end of the Rainbows in '89.
Michigan State lost yesterday largely due to five turnovers. Fumbles and interceptions were also a big factor in its victory over Hawaii in Aloha Bowl VIII, when the Rainbows gave it up eight times.
Again like 1989, there seemed to be some genuine animosity between these two teams. There was talk about who was taking the game seriously, and who spent the week before the game partying too much; who were being model citizens and who were running over cops with their mopeds.
"Half the time they were out there with us," Husky safety Tony Parrish said. "They just had earlier bed checks."
Also, Washington's Rashaan Shehee broke the Aloha Bowl single-game rushing record with 193 yards. The previous record holder? Blake Ezor, who had 179 yards . . . for Michigan State in 1988.
C) David Maeva says it makes sense.
Maeva started at rover back on the Hawaii 1988 team. He recalled that the Aloha Bowl game he played in included a lot of trash talk.
"I don't hold it against them or anything, but it seemed like their whole team was into it. We didn't really see anything like that in the WAC. So then we got into it, too, and there was a big brawl after a kickoff," Maeva said.
Although former Michigan State star Bob Apisa (now a Hollywood stuntman and actor) is Maeva's uncle, Maeva said he has more ties to the Huskies.
He was excited to see his cousin, backup quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo get into the game.
"I like to follow them because they have a lot of local boys, like Olin Kreutz," said Maeva, a Kamehameha graduate.
Maeva saw several Washington games the past couple years, since he works just up the road; he plays for the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League.
"Yup, I'm still the lightest inside linebacker in the world (at 210 pounds)," he said. "And I still play football with that Hawaiian style."
MAEVA has played for the Lions the past two seasons. His rookie year was spent with the Las Vegas Posse. The team's star running back? One Blake Ezor.
"He remembered me dancing on a table at the Aloha Bowl banquet. And we hated each other for that 60 minutes in the game," Maeva said. "But he and I became good friends. He had to retire early because of back injuries. I think he still lives in Vegas."
Although he considers Ezor a friend now, Maeva was overjoyed with Shehee's fabulous running yesterday that took Ezor out of the Aloha Bowl record book.
"That gets us out of there, too," Maeva said. "For that I'm very happy.
"Thank Olin, thank all da boys for me."
Merry Christmas, David Maeva . . . and Garrett Gabriel, Chris Roscoe and Mike Tresler.
Happy Holidays, Dan Ahuna, Kim McCloud and Walter Briggs.
And Bob Wagner, wherever you are.
Those Grinches who stole your Christmas eight years ago had the tables turned on them yesterday.
Dave Reardon is a magazine editor and freelance
writer who has covered Hawaii sports since 1977.
He can be reached via the Star-Bulletin or
by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.