MAKIKI — After losing a close 13-9 game to Leilehua to start the season, Saint Francis coach Kip Akana challenged his players to bounce back from adversity.
With the way the Saints performed against Kauai Saturday afternoon, it's safe to say they did just that.
Saint Francis scored early and often to defeat the visiting Red Raiders in a non-league game, 42-0, at Punahou's Alexander Field.
It was a dominating performance all around by the Saints, who are ranked sixth in the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Division II Power Rankings. Saint Francis held Kauai to 138 yards of total offense while rolling up 454 yards of its own.
"It was a tough loss last weekend and we wanted to see how the kids respond," said Akana. "They had two choices, because you're never going to be the same the following week. They could either come in have some kind of emotional let down, or they were going to come out with their heads on fire. Today the kids did really good."
Senior free safety Wembley Mailei added that the Mules' solid performance against Kahuku, the No. 1 team in the D1 Rankings, in a 24-0 loss on Friday night gave the Saints confidence heading into the game against Kauai.
"It gave us chills on how good we could be," he said. "Just going up against Leilehua and them putting up a good game against Kahuku made us feel great coming into this game."
The confidence was evident early on as the Saints forced a quick three-and-out on their first defensive possession. The offense followed suit with a quick three-play drive to give Saint Francis an early 7-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game.
Saint Francis' opening series on both sides of the ball would set the tone for the rest of the game. If the Red Raiders did manage to have a big play going, the Saints would come right back to end the threat.
"It's all about momentum," said Akana. "Today we had a chance to make a statement and the kids did really good."
In his second start of his career, sophomore quarterback Jonah Aina-Chaves completed 15 of 17 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Saints offensively.
Wide receiver Scotty McLeod was the beneficiary of Aina-Chaves' arm, hauling in seven receptions for 112 yards, which is the most receiving yards by a Saint Francis player in school history.
While his team failed to put points on the board, Kauai coach Derek Borrero was thankful for the opportunity to play against a quality opponent before the start of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season.
"We just wanted to beef with the big boys, it's a process to toughen us up," said Borrero. "We wanted to play with the best and Saint Francis is the best in the league, so we learned a lot. We wanted to see how our guys compete and evaluate from there. Now we got two weeks to make adjustments and prepare for Waimea."
Jaykob Nakaahiki-Young led Kauai in the loss with six receptions for 68 yards.
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