Special teams kickstarts ‘Bows

Keelan Ewaliko provided big plays on special teams as a kick returner last season and sparked the Rainbow Warriors in the kicking game again on Thursday, this time by blocking a punt.

After the UH defense forced a three-and-out on Colorado’s opening possession, Ewaliko came off the left edge of the punt formation and stuffed the first kick of CU freshman punter Alex Kinney’s career.

Ewaliko fell on the loose ball at the CU 16-yard line and the offense scored three plays later and UH never trailed.

“I knew I had it right after I got off the line,” Ewaliko said. “No one touched me. I came off free, as soon as I got to the wall I saw the wall wasn’t even trying to block me. I shaved it tight and was able to get right in front of him.

“Throughout camp, (in the) spring, we’ve been practicing blocks. You keep visioning it, believing in it and it’s going to pop.”

Ewaliko, a state sprint champion at Baldwin, said the block was the first of his football career and it was UH’s first since Lance Williams blocked a punt against Oregon State last season.

Solid start for Sanchez
Rigoberto Sanchez took over punting duties with the departure of Scott Harding as well as the placekicking role vacated by Tyler Hadden and turned in a solid Division I debut in both aspects.

The junior college transfer made both of his field-goal attempts — from 27 and 34 yards — and averaged 46.3 yards on his 10 punts, with three stopping inside the Colorado 20.

“We talked to him about coming and earning a scholarship,” UH head coach Norm Chow said. “After today’s game, he earned that scholarship.

“We gave out three game balls after the game, one to the offensive staff, one to the defensive staff and one to Rigo.”


  1. Obake-san September 4, 2015 7:35 am

    Wow.. what a game!!! Exciting times… hope injuries are minimal, need to “clean up” some areas. Deep pass looks good, quick out to receivers remind me of JJ era.

    Keep up good work, keep improving, stay healthy… GO BOWS!!!

    Side note on last play… it looked like (to me, I sit on the goal line in the yellow section), that Colorado O-line was lined up about a yard too far and the official tried to move them back when he “fumbled” the ball. I didn’t see any UH player “kicking” the ball. I know they did pick it up after the game ending.

  2. H-Man September 4, 2015 7:44 am

    Rigo Sanchez did a very good job, especially for his first game. Didn’t display any first game jitters. Congrats to Rigo for earning that scholarship.

  3. papajoe2 September 4, 2015 2:06 pm

    Obake-san, One referee lobbed and underhanded pass to another referee that wanted to mark the ball but a UH defender was walking back to the line of scrimmage and the ball hit him and rolled away UH defender wasn’t looking or facing the ref, so it wasn’t done on purpose. By the time the refs got the ball to mark it, game over.

  4. locomoco September 4, 2015 3:07 pm

    Ewaliko was in on the punter so quickly he could have tackled him. Folks (myself included) have thought yesterday’s game would decide whether UH can become bowl-eligible or not. That single play (which led to touchdown and 2-pt conversion) might have been what set the game onto a winning course.

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