ON THIS DATE: Halftime speech by Joe Francis wakes Pearl City

On this date in 1976, Anthony Canyon scored two touchdowns and led Pearl City to a 14-13 upset of Kailua.

Canyon and the Chargers, who didn’t have a single boy weighing more than 200 pounds, were late to the party. Pearl City was manhandled by the bigger Surfriders in the first half and only advanced the ball past the 50-yard line once. When coach Joe Francis led them into halftime, they only trailed by a single score.

When Francis hit the locker room at Aloha Stadium, he saw a defeated crew but brought it back to life by telling the kids they were better than they showed and only had to execute.

It wasn’t the most original speech, but it worked. Canyon and the Chargers picked up eight of their 12 first downs in the second half and 156 of their 211 yards.

The defense was stout throughout the game but still had work to do in the final minute after giving up a score with 2:40 left. Kailua tried to go for two points and the victory, but Eddie Tangjian came up with a clutch tackle against a Kailua offense loaded to his side.

Canyon finished with 80 yards on 15 carries and David Pawid came up with two interceptions.

The Chargers improved to 3-1 with the upset and shut out Nanakuli in their next game but failed to win the rest of the season with five straight losses. Kailua had a rough stretch of its own, losing its next four games before winning its last two.


  1. Old School September 19, 2020 6:24 pm

    Coach Joe was unreal. At Pac-5 he was a coach and the Scout QB. He could still pass and run with the teenagers, in his 40’s and 50’s (age).

  2. Chip Davey September 20, 2020 9:23 am

    Thanks for sharing. Joe Francis– only Hawaii player to play for Vince Lombardi

  3. Kirk Heather Class of 81 September 24, 2020 9:23 pm

    Although I was not the sharpest pencil in the pencil box?? Lol!! Coach Joe Francis was always a patient coach to me. If he was upset he would say words such as; “Dag namit” or “WT French fries”. He never swore or cuss bad words. He would tell me his body was worst than the “Six million dollar man” & he still could make that throw better than I could. Just to make a point, of course? Lol!! He definitely was and will forever be an inspiration to me. Thank you R.I.P. Coach Joe Francis.

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