Friday, May 14, 2010

CSM Bulldog Spring Blue-White Football Game

If I can sum up my thoughts on the game in a sentence, it will be that watching the game from the press box has been an interesting experience, to say the least.

The night before the Bulldog Spring Blue-White game, I had been unable to sleep until around 2 a.m., which accounted for the fact that I went right back to bed even after the alarm sounded at 7 a.m..

I had actually planned to cover the Bulldog alumni flag football game that started at 9 a.m., but I guess that was not to be.

Still, despite nearly missing the bus, I managed to arrive at the football stadium early to catch the Spring game, and after scouting for the best seats to watch the games from (directly under the press box), I started chatting with some of the people sitting beside me, which was fortuitous because my voice caught the attention of my friend from the press box.

She was there to film the game, and I went up to the press box to join her. Sitting in the press box was a Bulldog alumnus, who asked me if I was the one currently covering the Bulldogs, with the scholarship stories, which I replied in the affirmative. Then he asked me if I was getting paid for covering the Bulldogs, which elicited peals of laughter from me and a firm negative. Shortly after the game started, he left, leaving just me and my friend in the press box.

That was when things started to get interesting. I'm afraid to say I can't really remember what was happening in the first half of the game. The Bulldogs were playing touch football, but that wasn't what gave me amnesia.

At first, both head football coach Bret Pollack and receivers coach Gregg Patner shouted some instructions and also the scores to my friend, and it was hard to make out what they were trying to say through the noise on the field. Usually there would be someone who was in charge of updating the scoreboard, but on that day it was left to my friend, who was desperately trying to film the game and update the score according to what the coaches were shouting at her.

On normal game days, someone from the field will signal the score to the score keeper in the press box but since the coaches were busy trying to coach and referee the game at the same time, and my friend had only coach Patner's vocal cords to guide her by.

Pretty soon I gave up trying to concentrate on the game and was instead trying to help my friend make out what Coach Patner was shouting at her after each play. For one thing it took us like a quarter of the game to finally realize out which team's scores was supposed to be recorded as home or guest, (it was all so disorienting), although with Coach Patner shouting at us when we got the scores wrong (yes, we knew that touchdowns were worth 6 points and field goals were worth 3 points and all that, but we decided early on to focus solely on what coach Patner shouted to us) I am quite sure we got the final score right. At least I hope it is.

Near the end of the first half, trying to film the game, keep score, start and stop the clock all by herself was taking a toll on my friend, and I took over stopping and starting the clock under her directions, only for coach Patner to shout at my friend that we were supposed to start the clock at the snap.

After half time, slot receiver coach Mike Langridge came up to the press box to keep score, but the game only got weirder. Somehow or another, someone decided that nobody was going to try and convert a point after a team scored a touchdown, although coach Langridge bemusedly decided to award 7 points for each touchdown. Earlier on I had decided not to cover the game, but I began taking notes, just in case.

However, I gave up upon realizing that some of the players were not wearing any numbers, and some of last year's sophomores were actually playing too.

Overall I guess it was a pretty informal game. There was some horsing around, like when a player decided to playfully "score" a touchdown after a play ended, and a player rushing into the field halfway during a play after being called in by a coach. The game ended with the White team winning 40-34.

Coach Langridge left right after, though not before saying that it was nice to see me again (and he remembered my name even though I interviewed him over a month ago!).

Overall, I managed to get some impressions of only a few players: sophomore quarterback Julian Bernard, who did a pretty good job as the White team's quarterback, Defensive linebacker D.j. McDonough from the White team who got two interceptions, and Defensive lineman Sosefo Maka from the Blue team, who recorded a sack towards the end of the game. I'm pretty sure I missed out a lot of other players who were also standouts in the game.

All in all, it was a pretty interesting game, and I guess watching the game sort of ended my semester of covering the Bulldogs during their off-season on a happy note. When Fall comes around, I look forward to just sitting in the stands at their home games as a normal spectator without having to worry too much about keeping score.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Former Bulldog scores NFL contract

Raymond Emanuel Hisatake at Pro Day, April 1, 2010. Photo courtesy of Bay'bee Joy Saleapaga.

Sharon Ho
Issue date: 5/3/10

In a world where most players enter college football programs with years of Pop Warner and high school playing experience, Raymond Emanuel Hisatake stands out.

Hisatake, 23, a former CSM Bulldog defensive lineman, signed a three-year free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers on April 24, and will be suiting up in a No. 62 Panthers uniform.

He received a $10,000 signing bonus and will have a first year salary of $320,000.

"It's a storybook tale," said his former CSM head coach Larry Owens.

"Ray having never played any football at high school to have an opportunity to play professional football and get paid for it, I am really excited for him. We at CSM love him a lot and are very happy for him and his family," he said.

Hisatake never played a football game before he came to CSM, said Owens.

When he first came for tryouts, he wasn't sure what the pads were and how to put them on.

"Ray was easy to coach," said Owens. "He would do everything you tell him to and he worked very hard and has come a long way."

"I am very thankful and very blessed," said Hisatake. "I gave my best and am happy that I will be able to represent CSM and the coaches."

Hisatake graduated from Westmoor High in Daly City, a school that did not have a football program, in 2004 and enrolled at CSM with the intention of joining the track-and-field program.

"It was very hard to get a full-ride scholarship to college through track-and-field," said Hisatake. "I spoke to a few colleges, and I found out that I was good but not good enough (to get a scholarship)."

Still, that did not stop Hisatake from winning the 2006 Coast Conference Track & Field Championship in discus throwing.

"I thought that since CSM had a football team, I might as well try out and hope to get into a Division III college football program," said Hisatake.

Instead, after greyshirting in 2004 and playing as a defensive lineman in 2005 and 2006, Histake won a scholarship to a Division I football program at the University of Hawaii.

At UH, he switched to playing in the offensive positions of left tackle, right guard and left guard.

"When I first saw and met Ray, we were in spring football and he was working out with the track team," said CSM Defensive Line Coach David Heck. "6'4" and 330 pounds does not come around too often. I remember his first play in his first game where he got driven down the field 15 yards and could not get off the block. Now he is the one driving people 15 yards down the field."

After graduating from UH on Dec. 20, 2009 with a bachelor degree in sociology, Hisatake spent three months in Arizona preparing for his Pro Day on April 1.

"I did well enough in the individual drills and managed to impress the Chicago Bear and Carolina Panther scouts," said Hisatake. "The Carolina Panthers gave me a call after the draft offering me a contract."

"Coach Heck was one of the first people outside of my family that I called," Hisatake said. "I consider Coach Heck my family and I still keep in touch with Coach O (Owens), (CSM Defensive Coordinator) Coach Tulloch and my Bulldog teammates; I will never forget the bonds of friendship I made with them."

"I felt so proud and thankful about Ray signing a pro contract; it couldn't have happened to a nicer kid," said Heck. "Coming from where he came from and never playing football to signing a pro contract is the reason I coach; just for him to have the opportunity to be in this position is a great thing. I think this is what junior college football is all about. Giving opportunities to young men that they didn't have coming out of high school."

"I'm happy for Ray," said Bulldog teammate Tevita Halaholo. "He's an athlete. I remember him doing perfect splits in the locker room; biggest dude I've ever seen do the splits. He will do a great job in the NFL."

"The coaches at CSM, they helped me a lot," said Hisatake. "Coach Owens gave me an opportunity to play despite me not having any football experience. I am proud to be part of a great football program at CSM which also helped me get ahead academically; I was able to graduate early from CSM with an AA majoring in liberal arts. Due to the program, I am the first in my family to graduate with a college degree."

"There are three things that I am really happy for him about- first that he got a scholarship to University of Hawaii, then when he got his bachelor's degree there, and now when he gets a shot at playing football professionally," said Owens.

"Ray represents what we all mean when we speak of being a Bulldog," said CSM Football Head Coach Bret Pollack. "He exemplifies our culture and fighting spirit of 'Play Hard, Never Quit' which rings true for all Bulldogs in the classroom, in the weight room, on the field, and in life. Ray continues to exemplify that culture and at the same time provide motivation for current and future CSM students and athletes."