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The First Meeting

The December 11, 1930 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser was crammed with headlines reporting the events of the previous day. “Foes Attack Actions of the President,” read one news item. (What’s that saying, “The more things change…?”) “Arctic Flyer Found Dead; Pals Rescued,” read another banner. At the bottom of the front page, a heading announced, “More Toys are Needed to Fill Big Christmas Sock at The Advertiser.” That story was right next to an ad for a two-story, five-bedroom home in Manoa (price tag: $12,500).

There was no doubt what the big headline of the day was, however.


The very first Hawaii-BYU football game was played on Dec. 10, 1930 in front of some 10,000 fans at the old Honolulu Stadium. The country was just a year into the Great Depression, and Hawaii wasn’t a state yet. (The Honolulu Advertiser billed itself as, “Hawaii’s Territorial Newspaper.”)

The accompanying article contained phrases that you probably wouldn’t see in today’s news media: “Mormans forced on defensive by smashing attack of locals,” was a subhead.

The article’s opening paragraph read, “The University of Hawaii selected a bad year to pick on Southern California. So did Brigham Young choose the wrong time to stack up against the Rainbows of Manoa. The Blue Cougars ran into a determined Hawaii Varsity at Honolulu Stadium last night. Not the university aggregation that lost to the Town Team, and barely nosed out St. Louis Alumni, nor the Hawaii eleven routed 52-0 by USC, but a brand new Rainbow Varsity faced and routed the Utah Mormons to the tune of 49-13.

“Pre-game favorites to win the game, the Mormons didn’t get a chance to settle down before Hawaii swept them off their feet.”

In the game’s opening moments, UH quarterback Johnny Wise fired a perfect 25-yard pass to George Naukana. With that, wrote the Advertiser’s Red McQueen, “the avalanche was on.”

This UH team was coached by the legendary Otto “Proc” Klum and featured players such as Wise, Nuakana, “Hawkshaw” Howell, George Indie, Harry Field and Francis Aiwohi.

Hawaii would finish the season 5-2, concluding the campaign with a 37-0 victory over Idaho.

So, yes, BYU has the series edge over the Rainbow Warriors (23 to 8), but the very first meeting belonged to the young men in green and white.

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