HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The BYU Cougars capped off the first week of the 2020 college football season with a dominating 55-3 road victory over the Navy Midshipmen — a battle between two of the North Shore’s most successful college football head coaches.
BYU’s Kalani Sitake and Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo — the first Tongan and Samoan head coaches in college football history, respectively — both have fond memories of growing up in Laie, where football is woven into the fiber of the North Shore town’s culture.
Fast forward to Monday night, where the two met for the first time as opposing head coaches — a one-sided game inside of an eerily empty stadium.
The vacant stands did not distract the Cougars, after scoring on their first two offensive drives, BYU kept their foot on the gas pedal, while the 'Mids couldn’t get things rolling the whole night — coach Niumatalolo putting the blame on himself.
In the post game press conference, Niumatalolo says that he aired on the side of preventing a coronavirus outbreak, instead of properly preparing his team for a football game.
“That game was 1,000 percent my fault.” Niumatalolo told the Media on Monday night. “Obviously, we weren’t prepared, one team was prepared very well.”
This was the first time Navy did any live hitting since their bowl game nine months ago and the rust showed — Navy could not stop the Cougars' offense and their only points coming in a late game field goal.
Sitake and Niumatalolo weren’t the only Laie boys in Annapolis, Maryland — Monday night marked the collegiate debut of former Kahuku quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava, who took some snaps for the Cougars in the final minutes of the contest.
Meanwhile, there are a total of 11 Hawaii-raised athletes split between Navy and BYU.
BYU will move on to another service academy, as the Cougars face off against Army at 9:30 a.m. Hawaii Time, September 19th on CBS.
While the Midshipmen open up American Conference play against Tulane on the same day, on ABC.