Heartbreak. That’s what it felt like on Saturday.
For the sixth time this season, the University of Hawaii Warrior football team came up short, this time as the clock expired.
In what seemed like the perfect scenario to get their first win of the season and possibly turn their season around, the Warriors headed to the “9th Island” to take on their rivals, the Rebels of UNLV.
For the first time this year, the Warriors held a 17-13 halftime lead and a win felt achievable, at least to me.
The Rebels, who were streaking into Saturday’s game with three straight victories, were the team to beat to end the struggles of the season.
In the third quarter, it looked as if that win wouldn’t come.
The Warriors went scoreless in the third quarter and made matters worse by allowing 17 points to the Rebels to put them down 30-17 as they entered the fourth.
UNLV added another touchdown but failed to convert the two-point conversion to push their lead to 36-17 with 13:11 left in the fourth quarter.
I admit it. I thought it was over and it hurt to watch.
But while I gave up, the Warriors didn’t.
Hawaii answered on their next drive with a touchdown and forced the Rebels into a punt after they lost 13 yards in three plays.
On the very next play, from the UNLV 48, Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder hooked up with receiver Billy Ray Stutzmann for a 48-yard touchdown score. Tyler Hadden added the PAT to cap an eight second drive to put the Warriors back in it at 30-36 with 6:02 left in the game.
As quickly as the Warriors were out of it, they were back in it.
And with 2:22 left in the game, the Warriors made that final push.
Hawaii went 55 yards in 38 seconds to climb all the way back.
The Warriors tied the game on a 44-yard Schroeder pass to Chris Gant, leaving me jaw dropped and almost as shocked as UH football broadcaster Robert Kekaula.
Hawaii took the lead behind Hadden’s PAT to push the score to 37-36 with 1:39 remaining in the fourth.
But UNLV had the last say.
With five seconds left in the game, the Rebels sent out kicker Nolan Kohorst to try a 44-yard field goal.
Well, we all know how that ended.
Losing 39-37, Hawaii sits at 0-6 on the season and is one of only seven teams in college football still searching for their first W.
As a fan of Warrior football, it hurts to watch this team come up short week in and week out, especially in this fashion.
I normally don’t do predictions, but the Warriors are due. Hawaii won’t play again until Oct. 27 when they host the 2-4 Rams of Colorado State, a game that the Warriors will win big.
Hawaii has to win their last six games in order to become eligible for their bowl game, the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. While I don’t feel comfortable in predicting that a winless team will win six straight, something tells me that the Warriors will make things interesting.
Here’s to being optimistic.
• Tyson Agbayani, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.