WAIANAE — Chevan Cordeiro ran for two touchdowns and added another score through the air to lead No. 2 Saint Louis to a season-opening 49-7 win over No. 6 Waianae Saturday night.
A crowd of about 1,200 at Raymond Torii Field saw the Crusaders (1-0) coast by the Seariders (0-1) in a non-league contest. It marked their first game since winning the inaugural Open Division state title last November.
Saint Louis posted 380 yards of total, including 277 passing, and held Waianae to minus-30 rush yards and just 14 overall.
"At times we looked good, but other times we made some mistakes," Crusaders coach Cal Lee said. "I think what you do is you look at the film and then you can really evaluate and make the corrections that need to be made and try to get better every week."
A Waianae miscue on special teams set-up Cordeiro's first score. On fourth-and-12, the long snap sailed over the head of punter Keoki Davis, who was forced to take a 25-yard loss on the play.
On the next play, Cordeiro flashed his elusiveness by scrambling out of the pocket and toward the end zone. Just as he neared the goal line, Cordeiro stretched the ball across the plane for the touchdown.
After Waianae turned it over on downs to squander a 77-yard kickoff return by Kanai Mauga, Cordeiro orchestrated a seven-play, 71-yard drive that was capped by his 7-yard scoring strike to Tosh Kekahuna-Kalawe. The play was set-up by Cordeiro's 20-yard scramble one play prior to convert a third-and-8.
"My nerves just went away after I made those big runs and those passes and it just helped me out a lot," said Cordeiro, a senior quarterback.
It was just Cordeiro's second career start after serving as a backup to reigning All-Hawaii Division I Offensive Player of the Year and now-Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa the past two years.
"I was nervous, but once I made that first pass then the nerves just went away," he said.
Cordeiro was perhaps most efficient on the Crusaders' ensuing possession, when he was a perfect 3-for-3 passing (for 32 yards) before finishing the drive with a 1-yard TD run on an option-keeper on fourth-and-goal. Jacob Tobias added the extra point to make it a 21-0 lead after one quarter.
After completing just one of his first five pass attempts, Cordeiro connected on four straight before his lone blemish — an interception at the hands of Waianae linebacker Mauga — but went on to complete five of his next six throws to finish 10 of 16 for 154 yards. He completed passes to six different receivers and added seven rushes for 62 yards.
"I think he did fine. We had a slow start. I don't know if it's the atmosphere or what it is — it's not Aloha Stadium — but that's what it is. He's got to get some reps being a first-year starter, but overall I thought he did a decent job," Lee said.
Cordeiro gave way to backup Maika Bonner to start the second half. Bonner's 2-yard TD pass to Koali Nishigaya stretched the Saint Louis lead to 42-7 with 5:28 left in the third quarter and triggered the running clock. He closed out the scoring with a 34-yard TD pass to Matthew Sykes late in the third.
Kainalu Tumpap and Tamarick Hallums also ran in scores for the Crusaders.
Waianae's lone touchdown came with 5:58 left in the second quarter on an 8-yard pass from Justin Tacgere to Atui Valu — two plays after Mauga's interception.
The Seariders allowed four sacks and managed just eight first downs — two of them coming off of Saint Louis penalties. They were 2 of 11 on third downs.
"We need to correct mistakes and learn from it," Waianae coach Walter Young said. "Let's take nothing away from (Saint Louis), they're a great team. I mean, that's the defending champions, but our kids showed us character. They didn't put their head down, they went all the way and they tried their best and that's all you can ask of them."
Rico Rosario, who rushed for a D1-best 1,250 yards and 15 TDs last season, did not play for Waianae. Young did not disclose the reason for his absence.
Saint Louis led at halftime, 28-7.
The teams also met in the semifinals of the Open Division state tournament last year, which the Crusaders won by a score of 42-7.
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