The Rainbow Warrior football team has already secured the Paniolo Trophy and the Island Showdown Trophy.
On Dec. 22, they will have the chance to grab the Pineapple Trophy when they play a familiar opponent, Louisiana Tech, in the SoFi Hawaiʻi Bowl.
“Excited for them to get recognition for what they’ve been through this season and what they’ve accomplished this season,” head coach Nick Rolovich said.
Hawaiʻi (8-5, 5-3 Mountain West Conference) will play its old Western Athletic Conference rival Louisiana Tech (7-5, 5-3 Conference USA) in their 11th meeting.
In this rivalry match, Hawaiʻi has won eight of the past ten games. However, the Bulldogs come in to the Hawaiʻi bowl with some good bowl history, as they have won four bowl games in four years.
“This is a whole black rivalry kind of deal,” Rolovich said. “We’ve had some great games against them. We respect their coaches ... and they’ve got some good athletes. We know that.”
Junior wide receiver John Ursua also talked about being invited to the Hawaiʻi Bowl, his second bowl game during his career at Hawaiʻi.
“I’m extremely excited to be able to play one more game with my brothers and take the field in front of our crowd,” Ursua said. “It’s going to be an early Christmas this year.”
Ursua also said that his team is excited to prepare and is looking at two regular season wins against UNLV and San Diego State as momentum going into the bowl game.
“I think we really got the crowd on our side right now,” Ursua said. “I think we just gotta keep that momentum going and practice hard.”
In interviews with both Ursua and sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald, both mentioned one player in particular: Daniel Lewis.
Louisiana Tech senior safety Daniel Lewis played with the Rainbow Warriors from 2014-2017, and was a captain during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. However, after a season-ending injury, he transferred to Louisiana Tech, and he will return to Hawaiʻi as a Bulldog.
“I went up against [Daniel Lewis] every day,” Ursua said. “I know it’s going to be a battle. He probably knows a little of my tendencies and I know a little bit of his. It’s going to be super fun to see him again because he’s just a great guy.”
McDonald said that the team has a group text that even includes Lewis.
“I was just texting him saying, ‘I miss you man’ and ‘it’s crazy how this is happening,’” McDonald said.
The group chat also consists of all the players getting ready to go for the Hawaiʻi bowl.
“The guys are ready,” McDonald said.
Hawaiʻi will return to play the Bulldogs in the 17th annual SoFi Hawaiʻi Bowl. The game will be televised on ESPN and will also air on the radio on ESPN 1420 AM.