Hawaii almost home


POSTED: Saturday, September 19, 2009

LAS VEGAS » Even after 10 days, thoughts of home can wait a bit longer.

The Hawaii football team's longest road trip of the season concludes tomorrow with the Warriors scheduled to leave Las Vegas on an early-morning flight to Honolulu after tonight's game against UNLV.

Sitting in coach for the 6-plus hours would likely be considerably more comfortable for the Warriors if they can complete the trip with a win over the host Rebels.

“;I'll go home after the game; until then it's just focusing on UNLV,”; defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga said. “;Before that it's just doing your job.”;

The Warriors (2-0) will try to complete a sweep of their two-game stay in the Pacific time zone when they face UNLV (1-1) tonight at Sam Boyd Stadium. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. Hawaii time.

After opening the trip with a win over Washington State in Seattle, the Warriors have been holed up in the Suncoast Hotel in Summerlin since Sunday, spending much of their time in practice, meetings and study halls in preparing for the Rebels while trying to keep up with their school work.

“;They're put in a tough situation, but they have been outstanding,”; UH head coach Greg McMackin said.

“;It's been real business-like,”; Meatoga said. “;Coach Mack is real intent on making us work. But it's been good, because we've been practicing real fast and high paced, so we've been getting a lot of things done.”;

Although they've been living above a casino for a week, the Warriors are confident the potential distractions haven't turned their attention from the game plan.

“;I think being here keeps us focused,”; receiver Greg Salas said. “;We're all kept real tight together, and we get closer to one another and it makes us play harder for each other.”;

Along with acclimating to the environment, the Warriors could feel more at home tonight with a sizable green-clad contingent in a crowd expected to range between 30,000 and 32,000 at Sam Boyd Stadium (capacity 39,100).

As the Warriors look to build on last week's 38-20 win over Washington State, UNLV has held as a seven-point favorite throughout the week after coming within seconds of upsetting Oregon State.

So have the Rebels shaken the hangover of the loss?

“;We've put it in the past now,”; said receiver Ryan Wolfe, the top target in UNLV's spread offense. “;We've got enough to worry about with Hawaii coming in this week.”;

Both teams entered the week concerned about injuries and turnovers.

The seven takeaways the Warriors forced last week caught UNLV coach Mike Sanford's attention as much as the offense's 626 yards, the Warriors' highest total since 2006. Hawaii, meanwhile, was looking to tighten its grip on the ball after losing seven fumbles in two games.

As for the injuries, UH defensive ends John Fonoti (knee) and Paipai Falemalu (ankle) are expected to miss the game. UNLV quarterback Omar Clayton is coming back from a sprained knee ligament suffered against Oregon State. Mike Clausen proved more than capable as a backup, throwing two touchdowns in relief.

While both teams enter the game seeking momentum as their conference schedules loom, the ramifications extend beyond the final score for both programs.

Just as the Warriors count the Las Vegas area among their recruiting targets, the Rebels have five players from Hawaii on the roster and want to keep the pipeline flowing to the desert.

“;I think it's very important to (the Rebels from Hawaii), but it's also important to us for recruiting,”; Sanford said. “;We have five from Hawaii, and we had two from American Samoa. That's significant and we're going to continue to recruit Polynesian players and continue to recruit Hawaii.”;

Series notes

When they were last in Las Vegas, the Warriors were 2-0 and entering the back end of a two-game road trip. That was in 2007, when UH left town with a 49-14 win. Prior to that night, UH hadn't started 3-0 since 1992.

UH leads the series 12-6 and has won the last two meetings. The teams are scheduled to meet each of the next three years, alternating between Honolulu and Las Vegas.

Short yardage

Reserve defensive end Tua Mahaley joined the team to fill Falemalu's special teams responsibilities. ... The Warriors got their first look at Sam Boyd Stadium with a walk-through practice yesterday afternoon.
















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Z7Jovonte Taylor5-9170
Y21Kealoha Pilares5-11200
LT77Aaron Kia6-5290
LG64Ray Hisatake6-3315
C55John Estes6-3300
RG74Raphael Ieru6-2315
RT50Laupepa Letuli6-4310
H1Greg Salas6-2200
X3Rodney Bradley6-0190
QB12Greg Alexander6-4240
RB23Leon Wright-Jackson6-1215
DE5Jake Heun6-2240 
DT95Vaughn Meatoga6-2290
or92Rocky Savaiigaea6-2305
DT49Tuika Tufaga6-2285
DE98Liko Satele6-2260
SLB53Blaze Soares6-1245
MLB59R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane5-11225
BLB41Corey Paredes5-11230
CB2Lametrius Davis6-0190
SAM9Spencer Smith5-11205
FS43Mana Silva6-1220
CB18Jeramy Bryant5-10180
PK20Scott Enos5-9180
P31Alex Dunnachie6-3235
Snap45Luke Ingram6-5210
Hold11Inoke Funaki5-11205
KR7Jovonte Taylor5-9170
PR88Ryan Henry5-9170




LT75Matt Murphy6-4300
LG63Sean Tesoro6-2290
C66John Gianninoto6-4290
RG59Joe Hawley6-3310
RT73Evan Marchal6-7310
WR4Phillip Payne6-3200
WR88Ryan Wolfe6-2210
WR84Rodelin Anthony6-5230
WR85Jerriman Robinson6-2190
QB2Omar Clayton6-1205
or6Mike Clausen6-2210
TB32Channing Trotter5-8200
TE44Kyle Watkins6-2240
DE91Preston Brooks6-3255
DT99Isaako Aaitui6-3305
DT68Martin Tevaseu6-2335
DE93Malo Taumua6-1270
WLB33Jason Beauchamp6-3240
MLB56Ronnie Paulo6-1240
SLB24Starr Fuimaono6-0210
LCB26Deante' Purvis5-10190
SS5Chris Jones6-2190
or22Alex De Giacomo6-1185
FS13Marquel Martin5-11190
RCB10Quinton Pointer5-10185 
PK37Kyle Watson5-9215
KO39Ben Jaekle6-1175
Snap43Kamu Kapanui6-0245
Hold45Brendon Lamers5-11190
Punt37Kyle Wilson5-9215
PR25Mike Grant5-10185
KR26Deante' Purvis5-10190
 10Quinton Pointer5-10185