Offensive lineman Ben Clark garnered the offensive player of the Year for the second time in three years.
Defensive lineman Beau Yap was named the defensive player of the year award for the second straight year.
Kicker Tyler Hadden earned the special teams player of the year award.
The Scout Team Award winners were freshmen running back Ryan Tuiasoa and offensive lineman Tavita Eli on offense and freshmen defensive lineman Ka’aumoana Gifford and linebacker Tumua Tuinei on defense.
2014 Award Winners
Alec Waterhouse Most Valuable Player Award: Scott Harding
Offensive Player of the Year: Ben Clarke
Defensive Player of the Year: Beau Yap
Special Teams Player of the Year: Tyler Hadden
Scout Team Awards: Ryan Tuiasoa & Tavita Eli (offense) and Ka’au Gifford & Tumua Tuinei (defense)
While the game came down to the last play, Clune pointed out how every play was important and why assignment responsibility and tremendous effort on every play is so important to winning a game.
After Scott Harding muffed a punt deep in our territory in the second quarter, several plays keep us in the game. Beau Yap beat an offensive tackle on a slant and stuffed a running play forcing UNLV to attempt a field goal. Then Kennedy Tulimasealii and Moses Samia pushed UNLV’s left guard back on the field goal attempt and Samia was able to block the kick. Without those plays happening in the second quarter, the final play wouldn’t have mattered.
Asked about Tuliamasealii, Clune said the UNLV game was his best so far. He can get better, but is maturing quickly.
Having Julian Gener finally back from his injury really helped the defense especially against the run.
Nick Nelson is a true freshmen corner and they are high on him. He’ll learn from his mistakes.
Fresno’s offense is more balanced than last year since Derek Carr and most of his receivers graduated. They are running the ball well and have played much better late in the season.
On defense they are looking for a blend of JC and high school recruits. They are about 2/3rds done with commitments.
Head coach Norm Chow also spoke to the gathering reiterating his appreciation for the support of Na Koa’s members.
Chow talked about the last two plays of the game. On the second to last play, Ikaika Woolsey missed tight end Tui Unga on a 4 Verticals play. The play is designed for the WRs to run fade routes, one of the inside receivers to run a seam route and the other inside receiver to run a post. Unga ran the post on the second to last play and Woolsey missed.
Woolsey wanted to run the 4 Verticals play again, so on the last play they kept the same formation but flipped the inside routes. Donnie King ran the post, but was double covered. Woolsey saw that and looked for Marcus Kemp who had posted up his defender for the game winning pass.
Chow said he was so happy for the players to be rewarded for their efforts. He talked about King who as a walk-on who had to catch a bus from Kapolei every day to get to practice. It was so gratifying for Chow that King could play a big part in the win making the 22 yard reception on the last drive.
With a slim chance to get into the Mountain West Championship game, Chow said they can only focus on controlling what they can control. That is beating Fresno at Fresno.
Chow said one year when he was with the Tennessee Titans, nine things had to happen for the Titans to get into the playoffs. Eight happened but the Titans didn’t win their game and they didn’t make the playoffs. A lesson learned that he will make sure our team understands.
Written by: Mike Lum
Didn’t it feel just great to see all the freaky football trajectories, drops, and misfortunes happen to the other guy for a change? We finally got our breaks and had things go our way overall…and that’s all that mattered! Here’s to it happening for a couple more weeks…and yet a couple more…to you of little faith!
Head Coach Norm Chow spoke to the Na Koa lunch meeting crowd, sans game film, and in the place of Defensive Coordinator Kevin Clune (who was told to get some rest and then have the defensive plan against UNLV ready by 3:00pm today) all due to the equipment problem in mid-flight and subsequent delayed flight to bring the boys and coaches back home today at 5:00 a.m. That’s 5:00am Monday instead of 1:30pm Sunday mind you!
It was quite an ordeal…yet the players remained professional, and with the assistance of Hawaiian Airlines, was able to be bused back to the hotel where they had lunch, dinner, was able to rest, shower, and even got in film review of the San Jose State game before returning to the airport for their midnight flight (which ended up also being slightly delayed) to Honolulu.
But, between you and me I’ll vote for the difficulties AFTER the game and let opponents deal with difficulties and bad mojo DURING the game.
Chow said he could tell by the practice last Tuesday that the boys would play hard for the seniors. The team had vowed to do so after the Colorado State game. And play hard they did…denying SJSU a score in seven drives inside the 25 yard line; blocking two field goal attempts; denying SJSU with an interception on the goal line; and getting that ONE long drive (14 plays) in the second quarter resulting in the game’s lone touchdown; AND ending a 17 game road loss skid! As Coach put it, “it’s not just a monkey…we finally got the gorilla off our back!”
The kick blocks were a long time coming as Special Teams Coach Chris Demarest exhorts his teams every week showing they’re so close….so close. “Demo” constantly looks for weaknesses in opponent’s kicking teams conjuring up ways to take advantage of them.
Chow said Iosefa is still a little tentative after coming back from his injury. If you watch the replays he seems to stop or slow down before hitting the line many times.
Oh, and don’t forget Scott Harding punting six times, one being muffed for a Hawaii recovered fumble, and one downed on the 2 yard line. A total of three punts were downed inside the 20. Chow plans on sending Coach Demo to Australia after the season is done to look for more players.
Asked about recruiting Chow replied, “we need depth.” He said the difference between the Pac 12 and Mountain West is depth. Last week Hawaii traveled with three inside linebackers and two quarterbacks….that’s all we have!
Chow feels the public can help recruit Hawaii players to stay home by being positive about the University of Hawaii. The coaching staff has their eyes on many players even if you don’t see them on the sidelines as they are limited to seeing a team only once. And if that team is playing another team they haven’t seen, they still cannot go to the game!
This week’s UNLV game is Senior Night and of Hawaii’s 21 seniors, one is in graduate school, 16 will graduate in December, three will graduate in the Spring, and one the following semester. Coach Chow thanked Na Koa for funding summer school tuition for the players which helps with the graduation rate. He lamented that at other schools the summer school is given to players whereas in Hawaii the program has to pay for it.
After the UNLV game, the next time you can see the Warriors in Hawaii as a team will be at the Awards Banquet on Sunday, December 7, on the Soccer practice field. A registration form is accessible on this website under the News & Events tab.
Written by: Gareth Sakakida