The Hawaii Warriors have some things that can make them special this upcoming season. After a tough 2009 season that had shown many promises of a great start to the season, the Warriors faltered to a 6-7 record with many injuries. I saw no excuse for the Warriors to not succeed last season despite the injuries. Why?
The Warriors are a team that takes pride in not backing down to anyone, no matter what. When the Warriors play, they play with the backing of an entire state.
As a former resident of Hawaii, born and raised, I considered the Warriors a underdog against any team. We always had the mentality that we're looked down upon whether it's because we're the 50th state, away from the mainland, or because we play in the Western Athletic Conference.
Back in 1999, a new head coach by the name of June Jones took over a less than talented bunch of players that had gone 0-12. In one season, that team lifted the people of Hawaii as they went on to win nine games. They ended up sharing the WAC title and then defeated the Oregon State Beavers in the Oahu Bowl.
Colt Brennan. He's the hanai' son of Hawaii and one of the most endearing figures to ever wear the Warrior uniform. He set multiple records not only on talent, but by pure will.
Nate Jackson. Hardly anyone forgot this guy. He gave his heart and soul to the islands he represented. He hit with such fury that it was felt by every person that was there in the game and at home watching it.
How many of us fans forgot the beat-down the Warriors gave arch rival BYU in the last game of the 2001 season? The Warriors beat that top-three-ranked-team-looking-for-a-BCS-title-game in the BYU Cougars 72-45.
Ikaika-Alama Francis. Nick Rolovich. Colt Brennan. Ashlie Lelie. Nate Ilaoa. Craig Stutzman. Ryan Grice-Mullen. Davone Bess. Samson Satele. Jeff Ulbrich. Jason Elam. Isaac Sapoanga. Pisa Tinoisamoa. Mel Purcell. Leonard Peters. Adam Leonard. Soloman Eliminian.
These men, and many others, have given their all to Warrior football. When they do the Ha'a, they do it wholeheartedly.
For the veteran Warrior players, never forget the aina' for which you play on. Never lay to rest while playing from behind, as those who have passed through those Warrior tunnels would gladly hit people for you. You bare the weight of a entire state, an entire culture, and those who came before you.
For those new Warrior players, you'll learn quickly what Hawaii Warrior football is all about. You'll learn that going half way ain't going to cut it here.
I hope we continue down the road of success after being off of it for a while. I look forward to seeing more of Warrior football, even if I have to stay up for it all the way out here in Pittsburgh. GO WARRIORS!!!