It was an ensemble performance that led to the University of Hawaii football team’s award-winning play.
“It was a team effort,” special teams coordinator Mayur Chaudhari said of the blocked field that preserved the Rainbow Warriors’ 14-13 victory over Fresno State at Bulldog Stadium last Saturday.
Defensive tackle Viane Moala was credited with the block as time expired. On Monday, Moala was named the Mountain West Conference’s player of the week for special teams.
During the on-field celebration, Moala described the feeling as “great.” Moala then deflected praise to his teammates.
“It’s awesome,” Chaudhari said of the weekly honor. “He did a great job. They all did a great job.”
The Bulldogs, down 14-13, were poised for the go-ahead kick when they called timeout to set up Kody Kroening’s 43-yard attempt with five seconds to play. The Warriors then called a timeout — not to freeze Kroening but to get a 12th defensive player off the field.
The Warriors had shuffled their strategy. Left tackle Dejon Allen was aligned in place of defensive tackle Penitito Faalologo, who had left the game earlier because of an ailment. At the snap, Jalen Rogers, Damien Packer, Jahlani Tavai and Malachi Mageo charged down from the edge.
“When the edge guys do a good job, the interior gets a little softer,” Chaudhari said.
The key, Chaudhari said, is to sell the perimeter charge. “You don’t want (the kicking team) to know where the block is coming from,” Chaudhari said. “Everybody has to do a great job of being an actor if you’re not coming (for the block).”
According to footage provided by Kevin Luke of OC Sports, Allen, Moala and Kory Rasmussen formed the front line. The jumpers — Marcus Kemp and Davaysia Haggar — were ready to soar with out-stretched arms.
At the snap, Allen knocked back offensive lineman David Patterson, opening a lane for Moala to make the block.
“Kory Rasmussen, Dejon Allen, Viane Moala, they all hit it right,” Chaudhari said. “The edge guys did their job. The jumpers did their job. It was a big team effort for that one.”
Assistant coaches Chris Naeole and Legi Suiaunoa also worked together in choosing the line personnel. Both coaches also collaborated in recruiting Moala, a 6-foot-7, 300-pound defensive tackle from American Samoa. It was Suiaunoa who lobbied for Moala to play as a true freshman this year.
“He was a good get for us,” head coach Nick Rolovich said.