Before opening training camp, the University of Hawaii football team was met with the tragic news that linebacker Scheyenne Sanitoa had passed away on July 4.
From the first time that the team stood before microphones and cameras, many of them made it very clear that this season would be played in honor of the redshirt junior.
“We have so much to play for. It goes beyond winning football games. We’re going to put in the work and do this for Schyenne. This is his season,” said senior linebacker Solomon Matautia during the first week of camp.
The Rainbow Warriors played out their promise. The team went 9-5 and won the Mountain West Conference West Division Title for the first time since joining the MWC in 2012. Tomorrow, the ‘Bows will face BYU in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium.
At the game’s press conference on Monday morning at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, head coach Nick Rolovich explained that regardless of what happens in the game, watching how his team took care of each other and inspired each other through tragedy will be the biggest takeaway and biggest accomplishment of the 2019 season.
“For us, the pride personally has not much to do with the wins and losses at this point. How this team came together when we had a real tragedy this summer with the loss of one of our teammates and how the leadership of the locker room hung together, looked out for each other, grieved together, suffered together , and put a real special and emphasis on this season was playing for Scheyenne.”
“When I look back at what to be proud of, it’s great to be a part of that. It was amazing to watch,” added Rolovich.
Sanitoa, 21, originally from American Samoa, played in 12 games last season, with two starts. He had 21 solo tackles and 30 total.
The Rainbow Warriors will make its third SoFi Hawai’i Bowl appearance in the last four years when it faces old rival BYU (7-5), Tuesday, Dec. 24. Kick-off is 3:00 p.m. at Aloha Stadium. The Rainbow Warriors (9-5) will be seeking their fifth Hawai’i Bowl title and first since 2016 while the Cougars are making their first-ever Hawai’i Bowl appearance.
What: SoFi Hawai’i Bowl
Who: Hawai’i (9-5) vs. BYU (7-5)
When: Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019
Time: 3:00 p.m. HT
Where: Honolulu, O’ahu
Stadium: Aloha Stadium (50,000)
National Television: ESPN (Spectrum Ch. 222/HD 1222 and Hawaiian Telcom Ch. 70/HD 1070). Jason Benetti (play-by-play), Rod Gilmore (analyst), Quint Kessenich (sidelines).
National Radio: ESPN Radio. Kevin Winter (play-by-play), Brad Edwards/Trevor Matich (analyst).
Local Radio: ESPN Honolulu (1420AM/92.7FM). Bobby Curran (play-by-play), John Veneri (analyst), and Mark Veneri (sideline). Chris Hart and Gary Dickman hosts the “Countdown To Kickoff” at 1:00 p.m. HT. KRKH (Maui), KPUA (Hawai’i Island), and KTOH (Kaua’i).
Video Streaming: espn.com/watch or the ESPN app
Audio Streaming: ESPNHonolulu.com/Sideline Hawaii app
Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com
Series Information: BYU leads 23-8
Head Coaches: Nick Rolovich, Hawai’i, 27-27, 4th season. Kalani Sitake, BYU, 27-24, 4th season