Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, April 16, 1999

A R E N A _ F O O T B A L L

Hammerheads start
IPFL season tomorrow

By Pat Bigold


When the Hawaii Hammerheads open their inaugural Indoor Professional Football League season tomorrow night against the Mississippi Firedogs at the Blaisdell Arena, the team will have a distinctly Rainbow look.

Not only is the Hammerhead head coach, Guy Benjamin, a former UH offensive coordinator, but 11 of his 23 active roster players are former Rainbows.

These include former All-WAC defensive back Eddie Klaneski, quarterback Tim Carey, receiver/running back Brendyn Agbayani, lineman Peter Pale, receiver Zac Odom, lineman Mika Liilii, defensive back Chris Shinnick, lineman Conrad Paulo, running back Calvin Mims and defensive back Niko Vitale.

Former Hawaii assistant Doug Semones will be the Hammerheads' defensive coordinator. Benjamin will be handling the offense.

The oldest member of the Hammerheads is 41-year-old Semeri Ulufale, who will be both a player and assistant coach.

Former Montana star Brian Ah Yat, who was a Division 1-AA All-American, will start at quarterback and be backed up by Carey.

There will be a blast from the past on defense. Former prep all-state defensive player of the year Chris Paogofie will play safety. Paogofie, who went on to play at Dixie, is remembered as one of the hardest-hitting Hawaii high school players of the 1990s.

Former Utah lineman Roy Ma'afala, older brother of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, will join Pale on the offensive line.

IPFL ball is an eight-on-eight game, with three offensive linemen, four eligible receivers (including a halfback) and a quarterback.

"There's a lot of throwing and the running is all quick and players bounce off the walls," said Benjamin. "The ball is always moving front-back. There's no sideline to run to."

The Firedogs, led by player-coach John Fourcade, come into town after a recent 45-35 victory over the Louisiana Bayou Beasts.

The Hammerheads will play a 16-game schedule -- eight at home -- over 18 weeks. There will be a four-game home stand next month.

The Hammerheads were the Hurricanes last year under a different ownership.

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