SEATTLE – The day at Husky Stadium was reserved for football.
And for remembrance of one of the most tragic dates in U.S. history – Sept. 11, 2001.
The secret that the UW football team – and, in particular, coach Steve Sarkisian – kept hush-hush was finally lifted just before kickoff Saturday when the players came onto the field with a commemorative white helmet with a backdrop of the American flag set into the team’s iconic block “W” logo.
“It was a great way to represent the people who ... we lost on 9/11,” tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins said. “It was a fitting way to represent them, and the least we could do for them.”
Never miss a local story.
“I loved them.” cornerback Gregory Ducre said of the helmets. “I thought they looked really good.”
The 10-year anniversary has personal significance for Sarkisian, whose cousin died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Danny Trant was a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald, which was located on the 104th floor in the north tower.
“It just felt like the right thing to do,” Sarkisian said.
The third-year UW coach helped design the look of the helmet. He introduced it to his players Wednesday.
“I though it was classy,” Sarkisian said. “I thought it looked great, and it wasn’t over the top.”
DESIGNED FOR TE
Seferian-Jenkins was giddy during walkthrough Friday when he was told that the UW’s first play from scrimmage would be designed to him.
And the next one, too.
Catching Hawaii’s defense expecting the shorter passing game, Keith Price instead lofted a high pass to the true freshman that netted 30 yards to open the game.
The next play, Seferian-Jenkins got loose on the left sideline, made a defender miss and rumbled a career-long 47 yards to set up Chris Polk’s 2-yard scoring run.
“Who doesn’t want to open up the game getting the ball?” said Seferian-Jenkins, flashing a wide smile.
Early in the fourth quarter, after Hawaii cut the UW’s lead to 31-26, Price found Seferian-Jenkins cutting toward the left corner of the end zone. The 6-foot-6 Gig Harbor graduate outjumped free safety Kenny Estes for the touchdown.
“I saw the ball in the air, and said ... ‘I was going to go get it for (Price),’ ” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I did not want to let him down. I didn’t want to let the team down.”
As the game progressed, UW defensive lineman Everrette Thompson said he could feel “spots opening up” in Hawaii’s blocking on extra-point kicks.
And the big man from Seattle not only blocked two kicks – both in the second half – but the second one also was returned by teammate Desmond Trufant for a two-point conversion for the Huskies with 1:37 rleft.
“Coach (Nick) Holt always said if we block it on their side of the line of scrimmage – ‘Scoop and score,’ ” Trufant said. “I saw the ball rolling around, and I just picked it up and ran.”
Receiver Jermaine Kearse’s two touchdown catches in the first quarter gives him 24 for his career – moving him past fellow Lakes High alumnus Reggie Williams (2001-03) into second place all-time behind Mario Bailey (1989-91), who has 30. ... Tailback Jesse Callier had a 55-yard kickoff return in the second quarter. His career-long is 57 yards, set last season against California. ... Third-string running back Johri Fogerson had one carry for 6 yards – his first rushing attempt in 14 games, dating back to last season’s opener at BYU. ... Callier attempted a pass (incompletion) and carried the ball (3-yard gain) on two “Wildcat” formation plays Saturday. ... Sarkisian said defensive back Marvin Hall, part of the team’s 2011 recruiting class, will likely take a college class this quarter in California, then enroll at UW in January as a full qualifier.
Staff writer Ryan Divish contributed to this report.