For Marcus Mariota, playing in the Ninth Island feels a lot like home
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s a big weekend for Hawaii Sports in Las Vegas with the Rainbow Warriors taking on UNLV, Max Holloway’s fight and The Raiders taking on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Many fans are making the trip from the 808 to the Ninth Island, along with many former Hawaii residents who now call Sin City home ― much like Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota who spoke with Hawaii News Now ahead of the big game against the Kansas City.
“It is so emotional for me, I do enjoy being here,” Mariota told Hawaii News Now. “I do enjoy playing here because it is like playing at home.”
The former Saint Louis standout and Heisman Trophy winner is in the middle of his second season in the Silver and Black. But it’s been a challenging transition for Mariota, who went from NFL starting quarterback to a reserve role.
“It is a little different.” Mariota said. “You went from being a starter to just kind of being a roll guy, you know, it’s humbling, but at the same time, I think I’ve learned a lot and to be able to not only learn from Derek, but the rest of these guys it’s been exciting and I appreciate it.”
This Sunday, Mariota and the Raiders take on the Chiefs in Allegiant Stadium.
“Allegiant is unbelievable and for me I’m a little biased because it is the Ninth Island, I do see the Hawaiian flags,” Mariota said.
“I see a lot of local people in the stands and for me that’s awesome, every time I get the opportunity to be out there at Allegiant, it is truly special and I never take that for granted.”
Even though Mariota may not see the field very often anymore, he can still see and feel the support of the islands.
The support is special, “you’re going to make me emotional.” Mariota said.
“The support is special, it’s meaningful, there is so much pride and the fact of the matter is I wouldn’t be where I am today without that support, so truly grateful and any way that I can, I say thank you and that it means a lot to me.”
Kick-off on Sunday is set for 3:20 p.m. Hawaii time on KHNL.
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