HALAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Boasting a new coach and debuting several different pre-game traditions, the University of Hawaii Warrior football team looked to bounce back from a loss in Los Angeles and get off to a fresh start in Norm Chow's first home opener at Aloha Stadium on Saturday.
Fresh start, indeed.
Junior quarterback Sean Schroeder found three different receivers for touchdown passes, sophomore tailback John Lister added two scores on the ground, and the Warriors defeated the Lamar University Cardinals 54-2.
Just over two hours before the game, the Warriors took part in the inaugural "Warrior Walk," a pre-game stroll with the UH cheerleaders and marching band past hundreds of tailgating Hawaii fans through the upper Halawa parking lot.
It was the last bit of walking the Warriors would do for a while.
After a muffed punt by Lamar returner Mike Benson gave the Warriors a first down on the Cardinals 16 yard line, Schroeder hit sophomore wide out Trevor Davis in stride near the back of the end zone for a touchdown pass with 9:25 to play in the first, making the score 7-0.
Nearly half of Schroeder's 121 first half passing yards came on a 50 yard reception to Davis in the second quarter, the Warrior's longest play from scrimmage this season. The reception set up a 7 yard John Lister touchdown run with 8:10 to play in the second quarter.
The score was the first of Lister's career.
UH made it 21-0 less than five minutes later, when Schroeder found senior tight end Darius Bright in the end zone from 8 yards out, capping a five play, 51 yard drive.
The Warrior's special teams unit scored their first touchdown of the 2012 season with just over two minutes left in the second quarter, when freshman Ne'Quan Phillips returned a punt blocked by defensive back John Hardy-Tuliau for a 21 yard touchdown.
It wouldn't be the Warrior's only special teams touchdown on the night.
Junior defensive back Mike Edwards took the opening kickoff of the second half 95 yards for a score, the Warrior's first kickoff return touchdown since Ryan Mouton ran one back 90 yards against Fresno State in 2008.
After a 32 yard field goal by Tyler Hadden made it 38-0 with 9:07 to play in the third, linebacker Lance Williams recovered a fumble forced by junior George Daily-Lyles forced on the ensuing kickoff to give the Warriors possession at Lamar's 12 yard line. Hadden kicked a 31 yard field goal 4 plays later to make it 41-0.
A third touchdown pass for Schroeder, this time a 9 yard strike to junior wide receiver Chris Gant, topped a 12 play, 72 yard fourth quarter drive that was extended by a roughing the passer penalty. The touchdown made it 48-0 with 14:10 to play in the game.
John Lister's second touchdown of the night came on a 3 yard carry midway through the fourth quarter. Tyler Hadden's PAT attempt failed, and Lamar defensive back Adrian Guillory returned the ball 88 yards for the two point conversion, giving the Cardinal's their only points of the contest. The return made it 54-2 with 8:19 remaining.
Neither team would score again.
In the debut of their pro style offense at Aloha Stadium, UH racked up 369 total yards, including 219 on the ground. Freshman running back Will Gregory led the Warriors with 62 yards rushing, and sophomores Lister and Joey Iosefa each added 55.
Iosefa exited the game with a leg injury in the third quarter.