Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, December 24, 2001


NFL Hawaii

Fuamatu-Ma‘afala goes
over 100 yards for
first time as pro

By Nick Abramo

Former St. Louis School and University of Utah standout Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala rushed for 126 yards on 26 carries in Pittsburgh's 47-14 romp over the Detroit Lions yesterday.

Fuamatu-Ma'afala also caught two passes for 53 yards in his substitute role for injured Jerome Bettis.

It was the first 100-yard-plus rushing game for Fuamatu-Ma'afala since breaking into the NFL in 1998. His previous high was 74 yards on 12 carries in a victory over Minnesota three weeks ago.

It was a huge lift after a dismal performance in last week's win over the Baltimore Ravens, when he ran for just 15 yards on nine carries.

Attempts to reach Fuamatu-Ma'afala last night were unsuccessful.

"He was real frustrated after last week's game," said Tenari Ma'afala, Chris' brother who is an officer with the Honolulu Police Department. "Iusually talk to him before and after each game, and it was tough on him because he wants to show that he can be a starting running back now that he's got a chance to (temporarily, at least) start.

"I told him to keep a cool head and don't be depressed. So it was really nice to see that he had such a great game."

Fuamatu-Ma'afala boosted his season totals to 300 yards on 78 carries for an average of 3.8 yards per carry.

For his career, Fuamatu-Ma'afala has rushed for 483 yards on 107 carries for a 4.5 average.

Two other players with Hawaii ties played in the game. Starting defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen (Molokai High School/Boise State) made three tackles for the Steelers, while Lions' backup center Dominic Raiola saw spot duty and played on special teams.

Raiola was used as an eligible receiver during one Lions' scoring drive with the ball on the Steelers' 2-yard line.

Kynan Forney, Falcons: The starting guard (University of Hawaii) and his linemates allowed just one sack on quarterback Chris Chandler, who threw for 431 yards in a 33-30 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Olin Kreutz, Bears: The starting center (St. Louis School/University of Washington) and his teammates on the offensive line didn't give up any sacks on quarterback Jim Miller. The Chicago offense struggled, but its ball-control philosophy was a main factor in a 20-15 win over the Washington Redskins.

Chris Naeole, Saints: The starting guard (Kahuku High School/University of Colorado) and his offensive line mates made room for Aaron Brooks to throw for 248 yards, but the Saints' quarterback was sacked twice, and he threw four interceptions in a 48-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Itula Mili, Seahawks: The backup tight end (Kahuku High School/Brigham Young) caught a pass for 3 yards in Seattle's 27-24 loss to the New York Giants.

Six more NFL players with Hawaii ties were not in action yesterday. Three of them -- offensive tackle Adrian Klemm (Hawaii) of the New England Patriots and defensive linemen Ma'a Tanuvasa (Mililani High School/University of Hawaii) of the San Diego Chargers and Mario Fatafehi (Farrington High School/Kansas State) --are on injured reserve.

Linebacker Jeff Ulbrich (Hawaii) of the San Francisco 49ers is out with an injury, and offensive lineman Kaulana Noa (Honokaa High School/University of Hawaii) is on the inactive list, while place-kicker Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos (Hawaii) had a bye.

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