Sports Notebook


Keliikipi finally
gets a chance

A not-so-funny thing happened to running back West Keliikipi on his way to college and joining the Hawaii football team three years ago.

The Waianae High School graduate was awarded a scholarship from Bishop Estates, but a paperwork hang-up delayed the grant.

"In 2000 my scholarship didn't come through in time, so UH canceled my classes and I was stuck out in the cold," Keliikipi said.

In the time since, he has worked as a welder with his father, always hoping for another opportunity to attend college and play football.

"Now I've got some money saved, so I can do it myself," Keliikipi said.

The 6-foot-1, 266-pound Keliikipi has done some impressive work in fall camp. He and fellow freshmen Doug Wylie (6-0, 196) and Kala Latuselu (5-11, 215) are invaluable scout team additions, and are competing with sophomore Pesefea Fiaseu (5-10, 255) for primary big-back status. Playing time will be hard to come by with the likes of Mike Bass, Michael Brewster and John West around, but the Warriors will need a large back in short yardage and other situations.

"I've just got to work on my footing and my steps and we'll see what happens after that," Keliikipi said.

Catch of the day: True freshman Lenny Boatner made nice back-to-back grabs of Tim Chang passes after making good reads and splitting the defenders. Both would have gone for good gains.

But Keliikipi came up with the most interesting, hardest-earned catch of the day -- even though it went for no gain.

Chang threw a shovel pass that defensive tackle Lance Samuseva batted up and nearly intercepted. Samuseva was among four defensive linemen and linebackers surrounding Keliikipi, the intended receiver. Keliikipi somehow managed to grab the ball before the defenders collapsed on him.

Injury report: Junior right guard Uriah Moenoa's bruised foot was better, and he played with the first unit. Coach June Jones said Moenoa isn't guaranteed to keep the starting spot, but it's still his to lose -- if he can shed some weight.

"(Challenger) Phil (Kauffman) worked really hard. He'll contribute. But he's also our backup center," Jones said. "Hopefully Uriah will get back into football shape and we'll be back on track."

Sophomore wide receiver Mike Akiu is out with a high left ankle sprain.

Junior slot receiver Gerald Welch healed quickly from a hamstring strain Tuesday and went full-speed yesterday.

Senior slot receiver Clifton Herbert and sophomore defensive back Kenny Patton are nearly ready to return from groin and knee injuries.

Who's No. 3?: Jones has made it clear since the end of spring practice that senior Jason Whieldon is the backup quarterback to Chang.

What about after that?

"Probably (sophomore) Jeff Rhode right now," Jones said. "Stick (second-year freshman Ryan Stickler) and he have been kind of battling it out, but so far Jeff is probably doing a little better."

Short yardage: Jones said the FieldTurf at Aloha Stadium meets with his approval, especially since it held up fine when he rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle over it. "It's perfect," he said with a laugh. ... Kealii "Moose" Aguiar recovered a fumble caused by David Gilmore to highlight 11-on-11 team drills.

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