Andrew Manley hasn’t spent a lot of time waiting around in his football career.
Even so, patience may still be a valued ally.
Just as in high school, Manley — now a freshman quarterback at New Mexico State — wasn’t wtching very long before being sent into action.
The Leilehua graduate made a triumphant debut five weeks into his college career, and was elevated to the starting job earlier this month. But his swift introduction to Division I football has come with some natural growing pains with a win-starved program still in transition.
"It’s done a lot," Manley said of his starts in New Mexico State’s losses to Louisiana Tech and Nevada. "I’ve realized I have a lot to learn. I realized the game is 10 times faster than high school. I realize there’s so much more things I have to know about the other team than I had to before.
"It’s just a lot of preparing. It’s fast out there, you have to make decisions fast. It’s been helping me out a lot and I’ve been having a blast."
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Manley signed with New Mexico State (2-9, 1-6 Western Athletic Conference) in February, following a distinguished career at Leilehua, and will close his freshman year by facing Hawaii (8-3, 6-1) on Saturday at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M.
"I’ve been looking at every game we’ve been playing, but I have looked at this game a couple times because I grew up watching this team. So it’s exciting," Manley said.
Manley’s shown a knack for getting on the field early at both the high school and college levels. In 2007, he was called up from the junior varsity as a sophomore and led Leilehua to the state final and threw a game-winning touchdown pass with 36 seconds left to stun Saint Louis.
After two more all-state seasons, he entered New Mexico State’s fall camp as part of the quarterback competition that eventually went to junior college transfer Matt Christian. Manley then split second-team repetitions with Tanner Rust to continue his education in the Aggies’ system.
Rust moved into the starting job against New Mexico on Oct. 9, but with the Aggies trailing their in-state rival 14-13 with 5:11 left, Walker sent Manley into the game for his first college snap.
"I was a little surprised," Manley said. "When they threw me into the game I didn’t have much time to think about what I was doing, I just had to go out there and run the plays coach called."
Manley completed his first two passes covering 11 and 21 yards to move the Aggies to the New Mexico 4 and set up the winning field goal with 1:56 left.
Manley saw limited time over the next three games before an injury to Christian pushed him into the starting job against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 13.
He has completed 39 of 79 attempts for 436 yards with one touchdown against four interceptions in the past two games and was sacked six times in a 52-6 loss in Reno, Nev., last Saturday.
New Mexico State head coach DeWayne Walker said Manley has "done some good things and he’s done some bad things." But Walker remains convinced the early playing time will ultimately benefit Manley’s development.
"I think the experience is great for him," he said. "I know he gets ripped by (quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Mike) Dunbar every day, but that’s part of being a freshman quarterback. I’ve had my moments with him, but we’re so lucky to have him.
"He has a quick release, he’s a natural thrower. I think he has a great future ahead of him. I think he has great leadership qualities and loves the game of football and is going to continue to grow."
Manley is eager to be part of the building process in Las Cruces and picked up some tips on how to handle himself in the huddle by observing Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz, his predecessor at Leilehua and counterpart on Saturday.
"I think that’s the coolest thing," Manley said of the matchup of former Mules. "My freshman year he was a senior at Leilehua, so I got to watch him play when I was on JV and I looked up to him.
"He has great leadership and everybody responded to him and that’s what I tried to do in high school. Just get everybody to rally behind me and follow me as a leader."
ACROSS THE NATION // TRACKING HAWAII’S ATHLETES
MEN’S WATER POLO
» Loyola Marymount senior Ikaika Aki (Punahou ’06) was named the Western Water Polo Association player of the year last Wednesday, earning his second straight nod as an all-conference first-team selection. Aki scored 20 goals and posted team highs with 35 assists, 56 steals and 25 field blocks. The 35 assists are tied for the fifth most in a single season at LMU, and he holds the career records in field blocks (111) and steals (170). He’s one assist away from being the first Lions player to top 100 goals, assists, steals and field blocks in a career.
» Stanford defensive tackle Matt Masifilo (Campbell ’07) finished with five tackles and a fumble recovery in a 48-14 win over California on Saturday. Aaron Tipoti (Word of Life ’08) had a solo tackle for the Golden Bears.
» Oregon State cornerback Brandon Hardin (Kamehameha ’07) finished with a game-high 11 tackles in a 36-7 victory over USC on Saturday. Safety Suaesi Tuimaunei (Kahuku ’06) added 10 tackles, including two for loss.
» Mississippi QB Jeremiah Masoli (Saint Louis ’06) finished 15-for-23 for 177 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns in a 43-36 loss to LSU.
» Notre Dame receiver Robby Toma (Punahou ’09) finished with four catches for 63 yards and Manti Te’o (Punahou ’09) had a team-high nine tackles in a 27-3 victory over Army on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
» New Mexico State linebacker B.J. Adolpho (Kahuku ’05) had six tackles and a sack and Kawika Shook (Kamehameha ’06) made three solo tackles in a 52-6 loss to Nevada on Saturday. Quarterback Andrew Manley (Leilehua ’10) finished 19-for-39 for 220 yards.
» Idaho linebacker Robert Siavii (Leilehua ’08) had seven tackles, including 1 1/2 for loss, and an interception in a 28-6 win over Utah State.
» Colorado senior Michael Sipili (Damien ’06) had six tackles and a sack and B.J. Beatty (Kahuku ’06) finished with three tackles in a 44-36 win over Kansas State on Saturday.
» Washington freshman defensive end Hau’oli Jamora (Kahuku ’10) had five tackles, including one for loss, in a 24-7 win over UCLA on Thursday. Semisi Tokolahi (Hilo ’09) assisted on a tackle for the Huskies, while Dalton Hilliard (Punahou ’09) had a solo tackle for the Bruins.
» Cornell College freshman Geoffrey Miller (Punahou ’10) earned honorable-mention All-Iowa Conference honors as a linebacker. In 10 games, Miller finished with 90 tackles, eight sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception.
» Linfield (Ore.) junior defensive back Nate Dixon (Kapolei ’08) and Pacific Lutheran freshman defensive back Sean McFadden (Punahou ’10) were named to the All-Northwest Conference first team. Wildcats junior defensive lineman Sparky Gonzalez (Saint Louis ’08) and defensive back Sam Higgins (Punahou ’07) earned second-team honors on defense, while Pacific (Ore.) freshman Jordan Fukumoto (Saint Louis ’10) and Pacific Lutheran senior Kyle Whitford (Punahou ’07) were selected on offense as receivers.
» Colgate senior Logan Keala (Kamehameha ’07) set a career high with 20 digs and added eight kills in a four-set victory over Army in the semifinals of the Patriot League championships on Saturday. Keala, who had a team-high eight kills and eight digs in a loss to American in the title game on Sunday, helped the Raiders finish with 18 wins, their most since 1996.
» Fairfield (Conn.) junior Haililani Pokipala (Sacred Hearts ’08) tallied a team-high 15 kills, including the match-winner, in a four-set victory over Manhattan College in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship on Thursday. Pokipala finished with nine kills, eight digs and three total blocks in a semifinal loss to top seed Niagara on Friday.
» Southern Utah’s Alissa Youart (‘Iolani ’10) was named to the All-Summit League freshman team on Thursday after averaging 1.62 kills per set and finishing with 48 digs and 44 blocks.
» Albany (N.Y.) sophomore Gabby Whitworth (Kalaheo ’09) contributed a kill, a dig and a solo block in a three-set sweep of UMBC on Saturday to win the America East Conference championship. The Great Danes play Virginia Commonwealth on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
» Amherst (Mass.) senior Christina Wong (Punahou ’07) finished in 182nd place with a time of 23:01.1 at the NCAA Division III championships on Saturday.
» John Hopkins junior Lauren Chin (Punahou ’08) led four Blue Jays in the Epee competition with an 11th place finish at the 2010 Penn State Garret Open on Wednesday.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
» Marist (N.Y.) sophomore diver Chelaine Eliazar (Punahou ’09) swept both diving events, finishing the 1-meter with a score of 216.39 and the 3-meter with a mark of 214.80, in a dual-meet loss to Binghamton on Saturday.
» Fairfield (Conn.) junior Michelle Yoshida (Punahou ’08) won two events in a loss to Bryant University on Saturday. Yoshida captured the 200-yard freestyle race with a time of 1:56.43 and won the 50 free in 25.01 seconds.