Seniors end regular season with heartbreak


POSTED: Sunday, December 07, 2008

A contingent of Hawaii seniors couldn't do enough to prevent a heartbreaking loss on their signature night of the year.

Special teams whiz Guyton Galdeira and safeties Desmond Thomas and Ryan Mouton had a hand in turnovers that boosted Hawaii to a 14-point lead in the second half. But the No. 13 Bearcats were stalwart in the fourth quarter and escaped with a 29-24 win last night at Aloha Stadium.

For 34 Warrior upperclassmen, it was a bittersweet senior walk following a demoralizing game; the Big East Conference champions scored 19 unanswered in the fourth quarter.

“;It was tough, we kept fighting, and we thought we had it won, but sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way,”; said Mouton, who tipped a Tony Pike pass into the hands of Thomas. It resulted in a Greg Alexander touchdown pass to Jon Medeiros. “;Even when we went up by 14 we knew we should keep fighting, because that's a good team out there. They're not ranked 13th for no reason, and made a couple plays to get back in the game.

“;We gotta get ready for the next one.”;

Galdeira knocked the ball out of the hands of the Bearcats' John Goebel on a kickoff return at the Cincinnati 8 with 11 minutes, 28 seconds to play. Junior Jayson Rego recovered the fumble and Alexander soon hit Malcolm Lane for a 24-10 lead.

The Warriors' next game is Christmas Eve in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, the last true home game for the seniors.

Though they know they still have that one to play, this loss still stung for guys like kicker Dan Kelly, who made good on his only field-goal attempt to put the Warriors on the board just before halftime.

“;We were heartbroken,”; he said. “;But we were also heartbroken after that Florida loss (to start the season). Cincinnati's a good team—that's why we played them to the very end and why they're 13th in the country. They're that good.”;

Medeiros, a junior who made the first TD grab of his career, felt bad that the seniors weren't sent off with a victory.

“;We wanted it so bad, the last (regular-season) game for 34 seniors,”; Medeiros said. “;We had a chance to come out here and do something special tonight. It just didn't work out.

“;This senior class is incredible. They're a big impact on this football team and we're gonna miss 'em next year. They were outstanding this season.”;

Senior linebacker Solomon Elimimian notched 11 tackles, while senior defensive end David Veikune had seven with a sack.

Mike Washington, another senior, was tops among UH receivers with seven grabs for 64 yards.

Senior safety Keao Monteilh also grabbed an interception in the first half.