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NORTHRIDGE FOOTBALL '97

Matadors Behave Well on Trip To Hawaii

September 10, 1997|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Even though his team faced the usual Hawaii tourist temptations, Cal State Northridge football Coach Jim Fenwick said the Matadors stayed focused on the game against the Rainbow Warriors on Saturday.

The Matadors lost, 34-21, but Fenwick said they didn't party the game away or anything close.

"I was happy with the way [the players] handled the trip," Fenwick said. "I think the kids deserved a trip like that."

Sophomore wide receiver Aaron Arnold, who had eight receptions for 113 yards, said some of the players spent time at the beach and the team visited Pearl Harbor's USS Arizona Memorial.

"I've always been curious of everything that went on there [during World War II]," Arnold said. "I was moved."

The Matadors, of course, received the mandatory leis from their own welcoming committee--assistant Terrance Johnson's cousin, who lives in Hawaii.

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Fenwick felt the Division I-AA Matadors could have defeated Hawaii, a Division I-A team.

"I think we competed real well," Fenwick said. "They have a lot of depth and a lot of size and a lot of speed. . . . We are all disappointed with the fact we didn't take advantage of the few breaks we got."

Northridge marched 53 yards to the Hawaii 20 on the game's opening drive, with senior running back Norman Clarke gaining 31 yards on six carries.

The drive stalled and Manny Marquez missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt.

Interestingly, the Matadors rushed only three more times and passed 14 times before the half. They trailed at halftime, 17-14.

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Some people are jokingly saying that perhaps the Matadors should join the Big Ten. Here's why:

The Matadors routed Boise State, 53-23, on Aug. 30, the same day Hawaii defeated Minnesota, 17-3.

Last week, Hawaii beat Northridge, 34-21, and Wisconsin edged Boise State, 28-24. Minnesota and Wisconsin are Big Ten members.

Fenwick said the Matadors are outmanned by those schools but not necessarily awe-struck.

"We are at the point mentally with this team where we are not afraid," Fenwick said.

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The air cast that protected the stress fracture in Jerome Henry's right lower leg is off but the senior wide receiver still doesn't know when he'll return to action.

"My heart and my brain feel like I can play, but the leg isn't ready," Henry said. "Maybe another three weeks."

Henry is working on a stationary bike during practice. He won't make the trip for the game at New Mexico State on Saturday and missed the trip to Hawaii last weekend.

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