The University of Hawaii football team may have lost the game Saturday night, but it was Motiv8 night.
Hundreds of youth had the best time experiencing college football, courtesy of NFL star and Saint Louis graduate Marcus Mariota.
The crowd was loud and arguably loudest in the south end zone, where 1,000 youth were loving the game, no matter the score.
"We are super, super excited and very fortunate that Marcus Mariota sponsored our tickets with his foundation, Motiv8," said Maria Glidden, After-School All-Stars Hawaii.
In addition to youth from the After-School All-Stars Hawaii program, there were 500 more from the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii, Special Olympics Hawaii, and Nanakuli, Kapolei, and Waianae high schools, also chartered by Mariota and his Motiv8 Foundation.
"Really a large percentage came from the west side," said Motiv8 Foundation volunteer Rich Miano. "Just a wonderful gesture by a guy who's not only a great role model but is a guy who's a great person for the state of Hawaii, especially for young people as a role model."
The eight in Motiv8 honors his jersey number and hometown, the 808, where his foundation does what its name says, motivate youth to dream big through education and athletics.
"He's doing things with the homeless. He's doing back-to-school stuff with backpacks and school supplies, and he's continuing to try to build this foundation up so he can influence more and more young people in Hawaii," Miano explained.
"It's so awesome that Marcus was able to reach into his pockets, make a really awesome Saturday for these kids," said Glidden. "They are having such a good time, as you can see behind me, making lots of noise and supporting Rainbow Warrior football."
"They never stopped cheering, even when the game was out of hand," Miano said. "I was amazed by their enthusiasm. They started the wave in the fourth quarter, and they would not stop until everybody got involved in the wave, and it was really the only thing exciting going on in the fourth quarter were these 1,000 Motiv8 youth that were just cheering on the University of Hawaii football team."
Their message to Mariota: "Thank you, we love you!"