LAS VEGAS, Nev., -- Decatur, Georgia averages two inches of snow every year.

Honolulu, Hawaii has never seen a flake.

Cortez Davis grew up in the first place mentioned. He now calls the other home. And let's just say he's not buying that two-inch theory.

"I've never played in snow or even seen snow really," Hawaii's senior cornerback said.

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That all changed last October when the Rainbow Warriors touched down at Denver International Airport.

COVID-19 forced Todd Graham's squad to fly from the season opener in Fresno, Calif., to the Mile High City. The islands were locked down because of the virus. Even the local college football team didn't get a free pass to come and go as it pleased.

Something else that was a rare sight in 2020 was fans in the stands. They -- more than 7,000 of them -- would be welcoming the 'Bows into War Memorial Stadium in Laramie that coming Saturday, too.

 

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Cortez and his teammates played in the Colorado powder and chucked a few snow balls throughout the week. Hawaii football's official Twitter account caught the moments on camera. It broke up the monotony, which included plenty of long stretches lounging in the hotel, going over film along with doing walk throughs and stretching sessions in lobby conference rooms.

"I spent a lot of time with my roommate," he emphasized with a smile.

Cortez recalled looking out the window on the team's 130-mile trip up north. He saw mountains. He saw vast, expansive prairies. The white stuff, yeah, that just got deeper.

"I remember thinking, 'it's going to be cold,'" he said with a grin. "There was a lot of snow."

His coaches warned him about one other thing Laramie is know for, too -- 7,200 feet.

"I heard that the altitude was different out there," he continued. "We definitely felt that the first drive or so, but I think we adjusted well in that game."

The score says otherwise.

Wyoming jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and continued to pour it on from there, racking up 281 rushing yards in a 31-7 blowout. The sub-20 degree temperature didn't hamper Cortez, he said.

The cornerback, who Thursday was named to the preseason All-Mountain team by the league's media, was in on six tackles, registered a sack and forced a pair of fumbles, including one that halted a Cowboys' drive at the Hawaii 11-yard line on the first play of the third quarter. The score could've been even more lopsided.

Maybe it's that production on the high plains that leaves the senior unfazed when it's brought to his attention that Hawaii will once again pay a visit to Laramie in 2021. This time in the season finale, Nov. 27.

"We're looking forward to it," Cortez said. "We take every game as a new opportunity to go out there, compete, dominate and play together. So, yeah, we're looking forward to that game and going out there and doing our best."

Cortez was informed by a member of Hawaii's public relations staff that Laramie's infamous weather can be much different from October to late November.

He didn't flinch.

"The crowd was loud," he said. "It was a fun game to participate in and the fans were crazy.

"It's all a blessing."

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