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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Still 'Mento' after all these years

By Robert Kekaula / Special to the Star-Bulletin

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 27, 2009

Using a black Sharpie, David Maeva wrote "Jimmy" on the white towel that hung from his hip pad, penning his own football future.

It was Sept. 3, 1988, at Aloha Stadium. The season opener against ninth-ranked Iowa was Maeva's first game as a University of Hawaii starter. But the chicken skin he felt as the band played "Hawaii Five-0," quickly dissolved, turning him into a Rainbow running around like a chicken without a head. Scared, confused and lost at times, Maeva was left embarrassed by his play in the first half.

"I was sitting and crying in front of my locker," Maeva recalled. "I was all sick, just staring at the 'Jimmy' I wrote on my towel."

"Jimmy" was James Ferrigno, Maeva's Kamehameha Schools classmate who died in a car crash less than a month before the Hawkeyes flew into town.

"Jimmy would expect more from me," Maeva said. "I promised myself right then and there I'd never play like a wimp again. And I never did, for Jimmy."

Seventeen tackles later, the Rainbows upset Iowa, 27-24.

David was Goliath that season, earning a place on the All-Western Athletic Conference first team as a sophomore linebacker.

Maeva and safety Mike Tresler, both manini men by Division I football standards, played like the alter egos they created for themselves. "Mento" Maeva and "Psycho" Tresler were unforgettable personas.

Continue at HSB

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