With Hawaii’s season opener 16 days away, some of the Rainbow Warriors top returnees — including Joey Iosefa and Scott Harding — were held out of Wednesday’s full-contact scrimmage.
So when the offense took the field for the opening possession, sophomore Steven Lakalaka lined up at running back with freshman Keelan Ewaliko first up at slot receiver.
UH head coach Norm Chow noted both performances among his immediate impressions of the afternoon after Lakalaka ran for 42 yards on 11 carries while Ewaliko was the Rainbow Warriors’ busiest receiver with eight catches for 84 yards.
Quarterbacks were naturally off-limits to contact and Ikaika Woolsey, officially named the starting quarterback on Tuesday, (unofficially) completed 12 of 23 passes for 114 yards. Woolsey’s longest completion was a 24-yarder to tight end Harold Moleni as he scrambled toward the sideline. Receiver Quinton Pedroza caught three passes from Woolsey covering 37 yards.
The quarterbacks rotated after two drives and Taylor Graham was next in the quarterback rotation. The senior went 6-for-10 for 64 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Don’Yeh Patterson. Jeremy Higgins went 3-for-8 for 41 yards. Freshman Beau Riley completed two of three attempts in his lone drive, which ended with a 22-yard completion to Ewaliko.
With Diocemy Saint Juste also among those who didn’t play on Wednesday, running back Dominique Small, a transfer from Cerritos College, followed Lakalaka and picked up 60 yards on 16 carries, including a 21-yard burst, and scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the red-zone period.
Defensively, transfer cornerback Jamal Mayo broke up a pass and came down with an interception off a tipped pass. Linebacker Julian Gener ended the red-zone period by scooping up a fumbled handoff and taking it the other way on the final play of the afternoon.
“Just from observing, I was disappointed in the tempo, it looked like we got tired,” said Chow, who then noted, “It’s been 10 days. We’ve pushed pretty hard.”