Blount proves to be an instant impact player


POSTED: Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dustin Blount had waited a while for his chance to run on the Aloha Stadium turf.

Once he got his opportunity, the junior slotback didn't take very long at all to make an impact.

On the first play of yesterday's Warrior Bowl, Blount caught a pass from Brent Rausch on the right side, shook free from a would-be tackler and sprinted down the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown for the Makai team.

“;Some of the guys on the other team were talking a lot of stuff before the game,”; Blount said. “;It was all set up. Coach said, 'first play score.' We scored.”;

Blount also caught the 2-point conversion and added a 4-yard touchdown reception from Bryant Moniz early in the second quarter. He finished with four catches for 98 yards and had the longest play of the game.

Jovonte Taylor, also playing for the Makai, was the leading receiver in the game with five catches for 135 yards and the go-ahead touchdown.

Taylor said he plans to stay in Hawaii in the offseason and attend summer school while doing some track workouts to further improve his speed.

Grinding it out

While the offenses combined for 72 passes, there were some highlights for the running game as well.

Senior Leon Wright-Jackson turned in a tough 21-yard gain in the second quarter and finished with 39 yards on four carries. Converted quarterback Inoke Funaki averaged 4.2 yards on his five carries, including a 6-yard touchdown run for Mauka.

“;Leon made some good runs along with Funaki. That's big because (defenses) have to focus in on the running game a little,”; offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. “;There's a lot of things we can do.”;

Speed thrills

Either way, Billy Ray Stutzmann would've been running yesterday.

Stutzmann would've been at the Punahou Relays, but the Saint Louis School alumnus graduated early and started college at Hawaii this semester.

He concluded his first spring practice camp with the Warriors with a flourish.

Stutzmann got behind the coverage on a deep route, and Shane Austin threw the ball where seemingly no one could get it, not even Stutzmann. But the lanky speedster eased into another gear and made the 58-yard touchdown catch look easy. He finished with three catches for a team-high 70 yards.

Health watch

There were some bumps and bruises along the way, but UH head coach Greg McMackin said the Warriors emerged from the spring relatively healthy.

“;I've seen teams devastated by injuries during the spring that hurt you in the fall,”; McMackin said. “;But I'm really happy about that.”;

Cornerback Chris Black had been sidelined for most of the spring with an ankle injury, but returned for yesterday's game. Slotback Rick Taylor and linebacker Jake Heun sat out the last few practices with injuries.

Junior Day

Tony Tuioti, the Warriors' director of player personnel, estimated between 60 and 70 high school players and their families attended UH's junior day yesterday morning. He said more showed up for the game after competing in yesterday's prep track meets.

The players heard from McMackin, athletic director Jim Donovan and UH-Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and later met with position coaches.

“;Overall it was a real positive experience for all those who attended,”; Tuioti said. “;We tried to give them all different angles and perspectives.”;

Their parents also got a chance to participate in a panel discussion with current players.

“;Nothing was edited, nothing was scripted. It was awesome,”; Tuioti said.