MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
On the UH Manoa campus Friday, a group of players from the football team were putting in extra time, not on the football field though.
They were under a white tent in front of the Campus Center, urging students to come to the season opening game against the Washington Huskies at Aloha Stadium on Saturday.
Some of the students got the message. Sophomore Lia Maile said “I'm ready. I hope they win some games”.
Freshman Kenneth Neo was also getting ready. “I've been watching football a lot. I'm pretty excited for the team this year".
Despite flagging season ticket sales, students said there was a buzz on campus about the team. They hope it translates into more people cheering them on.
"More support makes them more amped, like getting ready to win, show off their school pride" said Maile.
Meanwhile, the new H-Zone store at Ward Centre was fully stocked with everything from t-shirts to jerseys and more. Fans came in to get their UH green, even if they're married to someone from the opposing school.
"My wife is a U-Dub alum, so there was no recruiting her for this game. Otherwise she's always on UH's side," said former UH baseball player Jay Holland.
Also at the H-Zone store, a fan from Down Under. "My brother in law's a UH fan," said Anthony Stubbs who was visiting from Australia. "He plays for a local team in Melbourne, the Northern Raiders. So we thought we'd come over. Heard there was a game on, thought we'd get kitted out and go check out the game tomorrow.
In the Foodland Sack 'N' Save store across the street from Aloha Stadium, there was a display of University of Hawaii merchandise ready for Saturday's shoppers looking for last-minute tailgating supplies -- and perhaps a t-shirt or hat.
"It sells real well," said assistant manager Mike Frei. "We bring it in from all over the islands as far as merchandise from other stores if we need. We tend to go through a good amount of merchandise during the year."
At Aloha Stadium, final preparations were being made as well. Television crews laid cable, set up cameras and other broadcast equipment.
Lois Manin, Deputy Stadium Manager, urged those coming to the game to be weary of the single biggest change from last season.
"We don't have any parking in the Kam lot, so anybody who's ever parked in the Kam lot previously please do not go to the Kam lot. We will open the upper and lower Halawa lots for the general public" she said.
Manin said there will be a focus on interactivity during in-game promotions. Her message to fans: be ready to enjoy a good time, in the right way.
"Come one, come all, drive with aloha, tailgate with aloha, follow the rules and have fun."