The Honolulu Advertiser from Honolulu, Hawaii on August 26, 2009 · 52
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The Honolulu Advertiser from Honolulu, Hawaii · 52

Honolulu, Hawaii
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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1954: Hawaii exemption a boon to program On Sept. 17, 1955, in what is regarded as the biggest upset in UH football history, the Rainbows as much as a 40-point underdog playing without its starting quarterback and with a travel squad of 28 players trekked to Lincoln, Neb., and beat the Huskers, 6-0. The year earlier, Nebraska blitzed UH, 50-0, at Honolulu Stadium. Fullback Hartwell Freitas scored the game's only touchdown. "I stepped on top of our guard and dove over," Freitas recalled in a 2002 Advertiser story. "I landed on my head and I was in the touchdown zone." Freitas, a senior who had played high school football for Saint Louis, then told sophomore place-kicker Don Botelho, a Roosevelt grad: "You better make that point or nobody's going to remember you." But Botelho's kick was wide to the right. "That was the only miss I ever had in my career," Botelho said. The game was played in 93-degree heat before a capacity crowd of 23,000 red- UH used a nine-man front but Nebraska wouldn't throw. In the fourth period after UH took the lead, the Huskers were forced to pass while going against winds gusting at 26 mph and drove to the UH 26 before their drive stalled. Nebraska had threatened once earlier, reaching the UH 7 on the opening drive of the second half. Halfback Skippy Dyer, the Rainbows' best running back, cut down the Huskers' best running back for no gain on fourth down. "That was practically the same team that gave us a dirty licking in Hawai'i" and went to the Orange Bowl the year before, said Ed Kawawaki, a running back who moved to quarterback after an injury to Fred Nagata and orchestrated the winning, 62-yard drive. "I think they were thinking about the game after us (against Rose Bowl champion Ohio State and Heisman Trophy winner Hopalong Cassidy). They weren't paying attention to us and that was good for us." Hank Vasconcellos coached UH to one of its landmark victories, a 6-0 stunning of Nebraska in 1955. But it is what he did a year before that has had a more enduring impact upon the school he served as coach and administrator. In 1954, after much work behind the scenes, he successfully petitioned the NCAA to create legislation establishing a so-called "Hawai'i Exemption," whereby schools that came here to play UH would be entitled to an extra home game. In a 10-game season, when it initially was established, that meant an 11th bonus game. The thought was that schools could use the added game to take in enough revenue to help defray the costs of the trip here. Since then, as the NCAA has expanded schedules to 11 and 12 games, the ex emption added a 12th and 13th game. Vasconcellos successors have called it a boon for UH, which would have otherwise found it much tougher to get opponents to come here. And it is why so many have fought so hard to keep the exemption on the books in the face of periodic opposition. "To be honest, it is something we wouldn't be where we are right now without," said Jim Donovan, the current athletic director. "He (Vasconcellos) was a man of vision for the university." t ' i5)f' lv' if 3 Advertiser library photo Hank Vasconcellos achieved landmark victories as a coach and as an administrator. 1955: 6-0 win at Nebraska Rainbows' biggest upset '41 y. J A i c V , 1 d X' JJ TOUCH PNVNI - Advertiser photo iHustratton Hartwell Freitas landed on his head, but it was the favored Cornhuskers who were upended. clad Husker fans. Y10 1 Wednesday, August 26, 2009 The Honolulu Advertiser

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