WEST POINT, New York (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite squandering a two-touchdown lead in the first half, the Warrior football team came up with enough big plays to hold on for the 31-28 win on Saturday against Army.
Hawaii tried to go 2-0 all-time against Army. They'd pour it on early, as Bryant Moniz found Royce Pollard for the 26-yard score in their opening drive. It's Pollard's first career TD.
Moniz would finish up with 343 yards passing and 3 Td's. The Warriors continued their air attack on the Black Knights.
Early in the second quarter, Moniz dropped back and sailed a pass to Kealoha Pilares. It's a 48-yard score, Pilares leads the team with four touchdowns on the season, all going for 30 yards or longer.
It's was 21-0 Warriors at that point. But Army would come right back and they'd do it with what they do best, the run.
Malcolm Brown raced to paydirt with the four-yard scamper with about four minutes to go in the second. Hawaii would go into the halftime locker room with the 21-7 advantage.
Then the turnover bug began to hit Hawaii hard, as Army kicked off after scoring, the Warriors were not ready for the short kick and Mana Lolotai just couldn't find the handle.
The Black Knights would recover and tie the game up at 21-apiece. Army did it with defense as well, by sacking Moniz as Marcus Hilton picked up the ball. Army would eventually punch it in for another score to take the 28-21 lead, late in the third.
But Hawaii answered after a Moniz 27-yard pass to Pilares, Alex Green barreled his way into the endzone, tying the game at 28.
The warriors special teams unit also came up big on Saturday, especially with seven minutes to go in the contest, as John Hardy Tuliau blocked an Army field goal attempt. It's Hawaii's first blocked kick since the '08 season.
Then the game-changing play happened with just 24 seconds to go in the game. The officials reversed a decision on a play.
Army QB Max Jenkins with the keeper, but the ball is jarred loose and Mana Silva recovers it. But on the field, it's ruled that Jenkins is down, so no fumble.
But the replay shows that his knees never touched the field before the ball came loose. Hawaii took over and made it count.
Army with the all-out blitz, Moniz though, aired it out with the perfect pass to Pollard, all the way down to the 14-yard line with just 12 seconds to go..
It would set up a 31-yard game-winning attempt by Scott Enos. The senior nailed it and gave Hawaii the 31-28 win over Army.
But the Warriors would get some bad news after the game, as starting safety Spencer Smith suffered a broken forearm. Team officials say he'll get surgery on it and will be out indefinitely.
Still, a big road win for the Warriors who move to 1-1 on the young season.
"When it came down to the last drive, we weren't negative at all, we were just confident in our abilities, our plays and our coaches and we just did what we had to do," Moniz said.
Hawaii has won its last five games against the academies dating back to 1999.
"I knew it was going to come down to it, that's all I was doing on the sidelines, when I got out there, I was ready to go," Enos said.
The Warriors will stay up in the Mainland and begin to prepare for Colorado, next Saturday. Kick-off for that game is 9:30 a.m., Hawaii time.
"It feels great, beautiful, now we get to go to Colorado, now we're one and one, feel good, feel beautiful, I love this team," Warrior defensive lineman Kamalu Umu said.