Football Team, Alumni Bring Buff ’n Blue Spirit to San Diego

Above: Punahou’s Varsity football team in action at the SoCal Honor Bowl.

Punahou alumni, faculty, staff, coaches, students and friends gathered over the Labor Day Weekend in San Diego to cheer on the Punahou Varsity Football team as they played in the Honor Bowl at Catholic Cathedral High School. The festivities began with a reception at the Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club on the beautiful UC San Diego campus on Friday night. The program opened with a mele oli, Lei Mānoa, beautifully describing the valley and Kapunahou, composed and chanted by Ke‘alohi Reppun ’99, director of the Kuaihelani Center for ‘Ike Hawai‘i. 

Alumni from the Classes of 1956 through 2019 caught up with each other and enjoyed beautiful Hawaiian music, featuring Pat Quilter ’64 on steel guitar, hula and caramel cuts. They also heard from Academy Principal Gustavo Carrera and Vice President and Treasurer, Finance and Operations, Sunny Donenfeld as well as Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Noelehua Lyons ’91 Archambault. 

Saturday was the big game day as the buff ’n blue football team took on the 14th ranked Centennial Corona Huskies team at Manchester Stadium. The Oahu College Band made the trip to San Diego to fire up the crowd and cheer on the team, playing fight songs like “Cheer Boys Cheer” and “Hawai‘i Five-O” after hard-fought plays and touchdowns. It is amazing to think that a team from thousands of miles away could draw such a big crowd and fill the stands, but the buff ’n blue spirit transcends boundaries. 

The team fought hard, nearly winning the game, until the last seven seconds when the Huskies scored a touchdown to win the game, 50 – 43. The team was embraced with lei, hugs and cheers from the stands for their valiant efforts. 

One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Petco Stadium, where Puns enjoyed a prime view of the baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants.

On Sunday more than 100 players, alumni, parents and friends gathered at Petco Stadium along with 40,000 screaming fans to watch the San Diego Padres play the San Francisco Giants. Guests were lucky enough to be hosted in a private space overlooking the field, and were even able to hear from VP of Baseball Operations and Assistant General Manager of the San Diego Padres, Josh Stein. 

Stein congratulated the players on a great game and noted that the time spent on the field and in practice as a team together is what is most lasting and important, along with the support they received from each other and their families. This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

– By Doug Rigg ’84

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