Warrior Beat: Manly effort sealed Hawaii football’s victory

Manly "Pumba" Williams teamed with Kalen Hicks to make the final tackle and preserve Hawaii's 45-38 victory. / Photo by Stephen Tsai

It was 33 years ago when Corey Batoon and Manly Williams were Saint Louis School teammates. Batoon was a quick and tough defensive back. Williams was a dynamic linebacker who was equally remembered for mowing down opponents on special teams.

Batoon, now UH’s defensive coordinator, said his former teammate’s nephew — also named Manly Williams, but answers to Pumba — has the same appreciation for the sport.


“I know how important football is to Pumba and his family and to representing the state,” Batoon said following last night’s 45-38 victory over Arizona.

The outcome was sealed when Williams, who aligned as a defensive end, sprinted 29 yards to team with safety Kalen Hicks to tackle Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate a yard from the end zone.

UPDATE: ESPN’s College Gameday analyst Kirk Herbstreit gave Williams a shout-out on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s a neat situation for Pumba, being a senior and having gone through the things he’s gone through — the position changes and just being a selfless guy,” Batoon said. “To help us win a game at home to start the season, it’s real indicative of his character and what he means to this ballclub.”

Williams initially was recruited to UH as a safety. He then moved to linebacker. Last year, he was at rush end in a 4-4 front when the Warriors played triple-option teams such as Navy and Army. This season, now weighing about 280, he plays the strong-side end. Of Williams’ past life as a safety, Batoon said, “he tells me that all the time. That was 100 pounds ago.”

But Williams proved he still had a safety’s quickness on the final play. Against Tate, the Pac-12’s most mobile quarterback, the Warriors rotated defenders frequently.

“We were trying to sub and keep fresh guys to try to chase (Tate) around,” Batoon said, noting Williams “was the next man up.”

And, as it turned out, the last line of defense — Williams and Hicks — provided the final stand.


  1. MU August 25, 2019 1:21 am

    Go Warriors!

  2. Whats Up August 25, 2019 2:06 am

    Great Win over a PAC 12 team at home. Rolo is right the turnovers are unacceptable. The O-Line has improved big time. Arizona rushed 3 and dropped 8 into coverage and got picked apart. But when they blitzed Hawaii had some difficulties on offense. The special teams and defense did a good job making big plays when it was needed the most.

    Live Aloha/Play Warrior

    Go Warriors!

  3. Boolakanaka August 25, 2019 2:15 am

    That single play, I promise you, will be on dozens and dozens of programs highlight reel as an “effort play” and why you never stop—just tremendous.

  4. sackkabooya August 25, 2019 3:15 am

    DL seems pretty deep. They “sat” pretty well vs the “pace” of Arizona’s O-line. LB’s and safeties needed to make more plays behind them. Kept them pretty “clean”. Still way better than last year though. You can see potential all over this defense. Just gotta clean up a few things. They going to figure it out soon I think. You can see it. Its coming. Especially with that kind of Effort. Awesome.

  5. mo808 August 25, 2019 5:07 am

    Good Morning Tsaiko Ohana! That was a Great Win last night Warriors! Woohoo!

  6. Akamai Okole August 25, 2019 6:10 am

    Great Morning All!

    The sunrise looks terrific today…rising over the PACific! 😉

  7. Akamai Okole August 25, 2019 6:15 am

    Watching the game again (thank goodness I added x-tra time @ da end!)…

    Boo…you are correct, Das a highlight reel keepah.

    Along wit the TD chrow by Cordeiro. Dat window looked even smaller on the replay than it did from my seat in the South EZ last night!

  8. Akamai Okole August 25, 2019 6:18 am

    Healing thoughts (and a huge MAHALO) for the players who gave it up in the warm Halawa night.

    That was a lo-o-ong game.

  9. Boolakanaka August 25, 2019 7:55 am

    Talk about entertainment, could not have asked something more fun to watch!

    General thoughts: energy, physical play, and pursuit were just really solid and an upgrade from year. Rolo is a gunslinger , but needs to know, that sometimes less is more, and you can only go to the well, so often, that said it’s a big W. One too many 4Th down tries, but hey the man got big olo$. And putting in CC was key and clutch. Overall — B.

    Oline: bordered on being dominated, and aside from typical first game penalties, a rather surprising and outstanding performance….really happy with the da big boys. A minus

    Dline: held up their end, Blessman is really stout, and they had surprising pressure consistently. B to B plus,

    LB: great pursuit and tackling is better than last year. Injuries and depth are the current concerns. B

    DBS: We are much better in the backend, we have some legit ballhawks. Instead of just knocking down the ball, they are going for pics. Large chunk plays mostly attributed to broken assignments and being incorrect positions — hardly any flat out getting physically beat. B minus

    Receivers: Very solid, 90 percent of the game Byrd and Ward could not be covered. We need a bit more distribution of the ball, but that’s a QB thing. A minus

    RBs: great versatility and change of pace. Obviously ball security is the issue. If not for the fumbles, Bplus, but that said C plus.

    QBs: if we rate 90 percent of the game, then an A minus. Viewing in totality, including double Cs pinch hit in the 4 quarter. Then C plus. Cole is gunslinger and is obviously much more physical than CC, but trusts his arm too much. A throw in the flat or out of bounds is more valuable at times than an attempt for a score, repeat 100 times, “ball security”. For me, Cole is still the starter, no debate here,

    Overall, B.

  10. tom-warriornation August 25, 2019 8:28 am

    A great win over a Pac-12 team!!!

    Come join our Road Warrior group at games at UW, Reno and UNLV; and sit with other UH fans and families of our current players at the 50 yard line right behind our beloved Warriors; with the families of Cole McDonald, Justin Uahinui, Jason Matthew-Sharsh, Kanai Picanco, Derek Thomas, Ben Scruton, etc.

    Our group is 420+ at UW and 500+ at UNLV; and come join our tailgates and meet your fellow diehard fans! Our UW seats is upper deck across our team however.

    Email me: tomkitaguchi@yahoo.com

    or Text me 415-324-0585

  11. Whitey August 25, 2019 8:29 am

    Congratulations Warriors

  12. tom-warriornation August 25, 2019 8:29 am

    Manly for President!

    wow; I didn’t know he was 280 lbs; he still runs like a safety!

  13. tom-warriornation August 25, 2019 8:37 am

    Kudos to our OL who didn’t give up any sacks and gave our QB’s lots of time; and didn’t we outrush the Pac-12’s #1 running team last year? So kudos to our DL who contained JJ Taylor and the Pac-12’s #1 running team–that was HUGE!

  14. tom-warriornation August 25, 2019 8:57 am

    Kudos to Kalen Hicks #3 for hanging on to AZ QB Tate; so that Manly Williams could deliver the final hit!

  15. Ipu Man August 25, 2019 8:57 am

    I wonder if when Cole Macdonald was hit late out of bounds, and John Veneri said he hit his head hard on the turf…if that affected him. And the refs missed so many of those late hits in the beginning. But PTL for the team effort and coaching.

  16. cappie the dog August 25, 2019 9:39 am

    Who created the holding penalty which put Arizona in a second- and third-and-long situation that forced a punt after Hawaii turned the ball over? That was big.

  17. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 10:12 am

    Ipu Man:
    McDonald wasn’t available immediately after the game, so I’m not sure what his condition was. But, yeah, he took some mean shots during the game. That had to affect him on that final pick.
    I think McDonald is a victim of the Cam Newton rule. He’s a big guy, so refs seem to allow more late hits on him. But even though he’s big for a QB, he’s not bigger than the guys hitting him.
    Overall, it was an entertaining game.

  18. A-House August 25, 2019 10:13 am

    great win for UH!!!!!

    need more pressure on the opponents QB by the DL and better coverage to prevent the 2 or more WIDE OPEN AZ WR — no UH DB within 15-20 yards yikes!!

    Batoon rushed 3 with 3 LBs to contain #21 — maybe change strategy during game?

    2 bad CBS sports will not televise game again — forgot to ask Midori7 to tape game! — my bad!!

  19. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 10:15 am

    Akamai Okole:
    That’s always my rule when recording games. Add an hour, just in case.
    The game started late because Arizona, well, ya know, sometimes you have to make sure the police escort is going to be available on time.
    But it was a looong game. That’s what happens when there’s an early start time. Games go long. Conversely, I bet the UH-Army game goes faster. I mean, if they’re selling ads at 3 in the morning on the East Coast, then those must be the $20-a-minute commercials.

  20. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 10:17 am

    You can always pop over to your neighborhood sport writer’s house.
    But I’m pretty sure the game will turn up on YouTube. I watched some Arizona games on YouTube the past week.

  21. UH4eva August 25, 2019 10:20 am

    Tate was a poor sport not shaking hands and going straight to the locker. I think there were other AZ players did the same thing. Reflection of the coaches not teaching their players to be respectful. At least to or more late hits out of bounds and late hit on the QB. No discipline.

  22. UH4eva August 25, 2019 10:22 am

    Wow ST I did the samething YouTube UAZ games.

  23. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 10:24 am

    OK, here’s the game:

  24. UH4eva August 25, 2019 10:26 am

    I’m glad we have a bye week to clean up some mistakes. We should have easily pinned 60 pts on Zona. The D did great considering they had to dog out 6 times due to turnovers.

  25. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 10:29 am

    I know what you mean. They left a lot of points on the board. I think most of the turnovers were in Arizona territory.

  26. clyde August 25, 2019 10:34 am

    Didn’t know that Pumba now tips the scales at 280 (he’s still listed at 245 on UH website), which makes his effort play even more remarkable. He was in the backfield at about the 40 when Tate broke the pocket, so Pumba actually ran nearly 40 yards to assist in the game-saving play.

    I remember when uncle Manly allegedly “intimidated” a certain Punahou basketball player into missing a free throw in a critical situation of an ILH game. Funny now, not so funny for the Buffanblu then.

  27. Hank August 25, 2019 10:36 am

    #17 That hit that Cole took that WAS called in the second half was a stinger (and a dirty play). I don’t think Cole saw that coming which made it worse. It could have definitely affected his focus during his play thereafter. I’ve been there, and it can make you feel like you’re on a see-saw.

  28. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 10:41 am

    That was quite a Saint Louis team with the original Manly Williams and that feisty assistant coach who went on to become a judge and lieutenant governor. Oh, the glory days of the old ILH.

  29. Casual Observer August 25, 2019 10:58 am

    Great, tremendous win over a Pac 12 team ranked #50 in preseason by a team ranked #86. Even though the defense preserved the victory, they were porous at times, not unlike previous years. This was a great team win, coaches included. When you win, their decisions display wisdom. When you lose, their decisions are second guessed. I believe they are exhibiting a maturing coaching team that will get better. Still, a long season, injuries will occur but this applies to opponents as well. Good to have quality depth. One question or thot: In an obvious passing situation, why not put your quickest DBs on the line to rush the QB? The O line probably not quick enough to match up.

  30. KailuaFan August 25, 2019 11:08 am

    Great pre-game coverage, Stephen. From where I sat, Cole’s poor decision making was only responsible for two of the picks. On the first, the rainbow deep ball ballooned a little in the wind, and Cole was still figuring out how AZ was (attempting to) disguise its coverage. Both the second and third picks were into double coverage with no lane to the receiver, so those were bad throws. On the fourth pick, Rolo put Cole in a very difficult position, 4th and 10. Unless that was a pooch punt option play, not sure what that play design was. Yes, Cole made a bad decision to throw back across his body, but he had limited options downfield. Rolo needs to beware of the fine line between being bold and being reckless. That was a reckless call that needlessly turned the momentum of the game. I hold Rolo takes responsibility for that call and learns from it.

  31. Geno Ortiz August 25, 2019 11:12 am

    Manly, one of the greatest efforts ever on the football field. I am sharing the links of the play to all my friends…whether the are a football fan or not. You heart and effort will inspire all in any aspect of life. GO BOWS….what an incredible way to start the season.

  32. PONO August 25, 2019 11:50 am

    Great win and all around effort by the boys

  33. boolakanaka August 25, 2019 11:56 am

    29–Running an Omaha, means that you got to get home or otherwise you got no one over the top to protect the deep pass and everyone is on an island—so it’s either deep reward or a deep gash….

  34. winning August 25, 2019 12:29 pm

    Reiterating last years comments on Mcdoono- not a prime time QB. Makes too many stupid throws just like last year. You notice he hardly ever tries to run or throw the ball away. NOT SMART PERIOD! Also, don’t know why coaches didn’t try to recruit bigger RB’s with bigger and longer forearms-it almost cost the game along with INT’s. Overall though the O line did well as well as the D. 6 TO’s and still won the game. AWESOME!! Now it looks like UH can go 3 and 1 heading into conference. Now I will go the the bar, spend a little and cheer them on.

  35. bg August 25, 2019 12:56 pm

    Good morning all

    I believe we’re all inhaling that bodacious social drug called euphoria. It makes the morning so lovely as we relive last night’s memories! A week ago, Kekoa and I agreed that this season has the feeling of something very special. Last night confirmed it. If you are a Warrior fan, you should come to the game if you can. Despite the expensive beer and parking (also lack of it), and a hundred other inane things, this is going to be the very best game in town!

    1. For the Vegas gambling-andrenaline feeding–hard charging Warrior fan, Coach Rolo told the world that he has the trust in his players to roll the dice on 4th down while having the presence of mind to go for the field goal and put pressure on the opponent. 4th down plays were not only QB sneaks and dives to the backs, but also a roll-out and pass down the field. Pity the DC that has to defense this offense and head coach.
    2. After the trials and tribulations of 2018, the defense looks stout. Yeah, AZ had more than 500 yds, but a lot of that was due to db missed assignments which are fixable. On 4-5 throws, the wr was all alone. Physical mismatches would be more problematic. Really, what stood out to me was the way the Warriors were controlling the run. This was the AZ that led the PAC 12 in rushing for past couple of years and were returning 3 O-line, their QB and rb. The talking heads were predicting that AZ would crush us with the running game in the 4th qrtr. WRONG
    3. The O-line is vastly improved. Once RT Pryor gets a couple more games under his belt, it will be that much smoother. Compared to last year, the guys were picking up the stunts and blitzes much better. I watched the O-line from play 1 and AZ could not get pressure on Cole. Later, AZ was desperately trying everything. They went to a 3 man line and tried blitzing the A-B gaps, from the outside. One time they blitzed from the outside and had the good fortune to blitz right into a run and stop it for a loss. Didn’t happen too often. And, wasn’t it Tuulima at center and not Lavao?
    4. One thing I didn’t think about until this morning…how clean a game the Warriors played, penalty-wise. How cool is that? Playing for the team and not being selfish.
    5. Stovall returning kicks gets the andrenaline going. Remember the years that we fair-caught exclusively?

    Can not miss these games!!!

  36. sackkabooya August 25, 2019 1:04 pm

    Padello needs to regularly disrupt from the edge. Not line up as “Will” LB. Not pressed into open field coverage. Just disrupt. He is not Tavai. He is however exceptional at what he specializes in. I hate to see him unnecessarily struggle out of his comfort zone.

  37. sackkabooya August 25, 2019 1:20 pm

    James Phillips looks like a mini Davone Bess. Especially speed and body movement wise but “literally” too. A future playmaker for sure. Awesome.

  38. sackkabooya August 25, 2019 1:29 pm

    They gotta practice stopping that “chop block” in the flat “bubble screen” play that killed them last year. Arizona had success with that play several times last night. Got to read/react to it better pre snap.

  39. Inyoface August 25, 2019 2:13 pm

    Furuta got to stop diving low into defenders.

  40. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 2:19 pm

    I think Phillips is faster than Bess.
    But for comparison’s sake, Phillips reminds me of Channon Harris in quickness and stature.

  41. sackkabooya August 25, 2019 3:00 pm

    Mr Tsai.

    I guess it was the dreadlocks flopping around that reminded me of Bess. I haven’t thought about Channon Harris for a while. Hard to recall for me. But Phillips is fast, shifty (not as slippery as I thought he would be) and surprisingly strong. Definite YAC playmaker soon. As Pryor and Manning solidify (pretty solid last night actually) maybe we will see more 5 WR sets and more Phillips.

  42. H-Man August 25, 2019 3:20 pm

    There’s time to clean up the mistakes for the Oregon St game and go 2-0.

    I wonder what the Huskies are thinking? I assume Hawaii was scheduled during the Norm Chow/Ben Jay years; time when Hawaii was looked at as a body-bag game that’s sandwiched between Cal and BYU.

  43. Blu808 August 25, 2019 3:20 pm

    I want to see Stovall get some playing time at receiver in the game. I don’t think I saw him on any series during the game. Hopefully Rolo well at least let him get 1-2 series to see what he can do under the lights.

  44. sackkabooya August 25, 2019 3:30 pm

    Mr Tsai.

    If you are in Kailua and are available from around 3:30 to 4:30 Bobby Webster will be at Kailua District Park. He was in my wife’s “late night basketball” teen program years ago. Not an official event just Bobby giving back to the kids in our community. I hear he will bring the trophy,

  45. Akamai Okole August 25, 2019 3:57 pm

    Wow. So awesome…all da guud ideas for the coaches to do in the bye week right here since this morning.
    Just wait til the call-in show on Tuesday!
    Watch out, onee 12 more weens to go! 😆 👿 😎

  46. Akamai Okole August 25, 2019 4:04 pm


    56 – 14 Akamai Okole

    (I wen forget last week…Shux)

  47. Da Punchbowl Kid August 25, 2019 4:40 pm

    Like I said last week, just let ’em play and play they did! A win for the ages and a great way for “Phase 2” to keep moving forward. We saw this team working all year for last night’s win. A big mahalo to coaches, players and fans for rocking Aloha Stadium last night.

    Bigger, faster, stronger Warriors are only going to get better. See everybody at the stadium in two weeks!


  48. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 5:15 pm

    I was too slow. Missed him by 5 minutes. But our guy Billy Hull (an Iolani grad, of course) is on it.
    Thanks for the tip.

  49. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 5:18 pm

    Know what’s bittersweet?
    That ol’ grouch Pomai would have loved this game.
    And he would have had a guess-the-score list.
    F—k, cancer.

  50. bg August 25, 2019 5:54 pm

    Akamai, thanks for the reminder about Pomai. Sure do miss him. Before the game, Kekoa said he was guessing 56-13. Old futs think alike. Yeah, and proud of it!

    And the fuuud was so ono paired with the many desserts like Midori’s triple ???, and the bread pudding. Hard to pry myself away to go to the game!

  51. SteveM August 25, 2019 6:02 pm

    Ferd Lewis’ article today reminded of Coach Tomey’s mantra of “You just want to have a chance to win it in the fourth quarter”. I thought, of how coach Tomey must have carried that over to Arizona too.

    Now I realize that Tomey’s former teams played to his expectation: Arizona had a chance to win it by running their regular offense (Tate’s scramble) and not a Hail Mary pass. Hawaii’s defense had a chance to win the game by tackling Tate in the open field. Hawaii prevailed, but Coach Tomey won.

  52. islandman August 25, 2019 6:51 pm

    17. The telecast showed Cole in the stands after the game talking with someone, could have been his dad ?
    In 2007, Colt Brennan threw 5 INT/ 3 TD at Idaho and 4 INT / 4 TD at San Jose St.
    Jared Smart looked like he almost broke away a couple of times after catching the ball.
    – In the 4th quarter, the defense bent for 6 plays and 62 yds, but Okeke intercepted the ball on the 3 yd line, returned it for 49 yds. to ARIZ 48 (Score was 38-35 at the time).

  53. Inyoface August 25, 2019 7:08 pm

    Miles reed deserves to start.

  54. Stephen Tsai August 25, 2019 7:51 pm

    It’s a long season. The backs will get their fair share of carries

  55. tom-warriornation August 25, 2019 8:19 pm

    Come join our Road Warrior group at games at UW, Reno and UNLV; and sit with other UH fans and families of our current players at the 50 yard line right behind our beloved Warriors; with the families of Cole McDonald, Justin Uahinui, Jason Matthew-Sharsh, Kanai Picanco, Derek Thomas, Ben Scruton, etc.

    Our group is 460+ at UW and 500+ at UNLV; and come join our tailgates and meet your fellow diehard fans! Our UW seats is upper deck across our team however.

    Email me: tomkitaguchi@yahoo.com

    or Text me 415-324-0585

  56. iGrokSpock August 25, 2019 8:38 pm

    Still trying to recover from near heart attack status. Tremendous game and tremendous effort. Live Aloha, Play Warrior!

  57. ADG August 26, 2019 5:50 am

    As a Hawaii Warrior fan, I do take some of the credit. 😉 Because we always believed in our Warriors!! 🏈 Hawaii football forever!!

  58. burro sabio August 26, 2019 8:10 am

    Mr. Tsai, is there anyone at Will who can slide over to play Mike, or is someone poised to move up the depth chart at Mike?

  59. clyde August 26, 2019 8:10 am

    On the game-ending play, give an assist to DE Thomas, who, like Pumba, didn’t give up on the play, kicked it into another gear and nearly tackled Tate from behind inside the 10. His diving attempt caused Tate to step out of the tackle attempt (losing a little momentum) and veer back toward the middle where he was almost simultaneously hit by Hicks and Williams. Great effort by all three guys.

  60. winning August 26, 2019 12:39 pm

    except for that 4th and 10 and subsequent INT (thot it was a Harding style Australian Foots punt) Rolovich did a B grade coaching job. Another puzzling one was that 3rd and 2 at about the 1 min mark run around and downing of ball to pooch punt back to Arizona. To me they should have tried a trick run play and if they miss the time is still running, then take a penalty and pooch it. But what do we know. Have coach explain that one

  61. burro sabio August 26, 2019 1:19 pm

    A puzzling one is how a sack is considered to be downing the ball. A further puzzling one is how a trick play guarantees that the clock will be running with both an incomplete pass and running out of bounds will stop the clock. An even further puzzling one is thinking of calling a trick play and risking a turnover or big loss at such a critical stage of the game. Maybe “winning” can explain these.

  62. NorthShoreFan August 26, 2019 2:28 pm

    Latest Rankings….Hawaii…65
    Oregon State…96
    Central Arkansas…?
    Boise State…36
    Air Force…89
    New Mexico…126
    Fresno State…55
    San Jose State…128
    San Diego State…61
    Going to be a very interesting season….Go Warriors!

  63. Stephen Tsai August 26, 2019 2:49 pm

    New post: https://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=50780

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