HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Warrior football team makes it’s return to Aloha Stadium this Saturday against the Arizona Wildcats.
After the program’s first winning season since 2010, the Warriors enter the season ‘optimistic’ as to how good they can be this year. The Warriors were selected to finish 4th in the West Division of the Mountain West Conference.
Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich isn’t interested in preseason predictions and is eager for his team to test their skills against a PAC-12 opponent.
“We have a chip on our shoulder,” said Rolovich. “The amount of work this team has put in, they’re excited to test their skills against some uncertainty.”
Uncertainty often times surrounds football teams in the beginning of the year, but one thing is for certain, the Warriors are ready to play, not scrimmage.
Senior inside linebacker Solomon Matautia is ready to collide against opponents not his teammates.
“We’ve been competing for the last four weeks now,” said Matautia. “It will feel good to be able to hit someone else.”
The Warriors offensively will be lead by Junior quarterback Cole McDonald, who comes into the season poised for a breakout 2019 campaign.
On defense the Warriors face an early test as Wildcats signal caller Khalil Tate comes to Aloha Stadium widely recognized as one of the most dynamic players in the country.
The task of replacing Jahlani Tavai has fallen on Penei Pavihi’s shoulders, and an opportunity to play against one of the best quarterbacks in the countryis one Pavihi is looking forward to.
“We treat all our opponents equally,” said Pavihi. “We have to respect his speed and get all 11 hats to the ball, and it will be a good game.”
One of the four captains selected by the team to start the season was running back Dayton Furuta.
The former Mililani Trojan is proud to represent the state and as a local boy feels a certain added satisfaction with his role as captain.
“That was the goal from the start," said Furuta. "When I committed to Hawaii my biggest thing was representing the state of Hawaii and now I get to come out and lead the team, its coming full circle now.”
The Warriors will kickoff the season against Arizona at 4:30 p.m. at Aloha Stadium on Aug. 24.