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Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Michael Lasquero | ScoringLiveSeptember 7, 2018, 11:25pm
Fri, Sep 7, 2018 @ Aloha Stadium [ 7:30 pm ]
HALAWA — The Saint Louis Crusaders had it their way against the Kahuku Red Raiders Friday night.
Top-ranked Saint Louis jumped out to a 16-0 halftime lead and had eight total sacks to slash No. 2 Kahuku, 30-14, in an interleague Open Division matchup before a crowd of about 5,000 at Hawaiian Financial FCU Field at Aloha Stadium.
Wideout Roman Wilson added six receptions for 137 yards and two scores as the Crusaders picked up their third straight win over the Red Raiders to improve to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the ILH standings.
Kahuku, who last beat Saint Louis on Nov. 20, 2015 in the Division I state title game, dropped to 3-1 overall with the loss.
"Saint Louis is the real deal," said Kahuku first-year coach Sterling Carvalho. "They was well-coached, they came out with a game plan, they executed it and that was the bottom line."
The Crusaders' defense caused havoc from the get-go, sacking Kahuku starting quarterback Thorton Alapa on his first two drop backs of the night. The constant pressure in the first half derailed any momentum for the Kahuku offense as it gave up six sacks in the first 24 minutes of play and just 10 yards of total offense at the break.
"We came out flat," said Carvalho. "Saint Louis came out as Saint Louis always does: fast; and they took advantage of us. Great teams do that. We cannot be flat and with our mistakes and our downfalls and expect to keep up with a top caliber team like Saint Louis."
Nicholas Herbig led the defensive effort with a game-high eight tackles, which included two sacks. Other Crusaders with sacks include Stanley McKenzie, Gino Quinones, Jordan Botelho, Faatui Tuitele, Kili Kamakawiwoole and Timothy Timoteo.
Saint Louis also recorded two interceptions in the game, one of which was returned 85 yards by Korvin Feagins for the Crusaders' final score of the night. Kamoi Latu had the other pick, which came three plays after Alapa was sacked on the first play of the second half.
"We just came out and we had the mindset of just firing out against this Kahuku offense and just kind of play in their backfield," said Saint Louis senior defensive lineman Faatui Tuitele.
Saint Louis LB Nicholas Herbig celebrates after dropping Kahuku QB Thorton Alapa for one of his two sacks. CJ Caraang | SL
Meanwhile the Crusaders' offense was methodical in its approach. After nearly scoring on its first passing attempt of the game, Saint Louis moved the ball around the field and mixed it the run for a 14-play clock-milking drive that lasted nearly six minutes. The Crusaders settled for a 29-yard field goal from Garyn Napuunoa, but it was only a matter of time till they started cooking on offense.
A bad snap stymied Saint Louis' next drive, but the Crusaders went right back to work on their next series with a 12-play drive that was capped on Malosi Sam's 8-yard touchdown run. The victors were balanced in their first TD drive, with six running and six passing plays apiece. They also needed just two plays that went were 10 yards or more as QB Jayden deLaura took what the defense gave him and scrambled when he needed to.
"Sometimes you can't just hit the home run, you have to get hits, (and) hits, then you can score," said Saint Louis coach Cal Lee. "I like that part of it where you got to be patient, know your assignments, execute and get things done."
The Crusaders could still go for the big play when they wanted to however. Wilson, who nearly caught a deep TD pass in stride on deLaura's first passing play of the night, scored on an 80-yard catch-and-run to give Saint Louis a 16-0 lead with 2:26 to play in the first half. The two also hooked up another scoring pass from 13 yards out on the Crusaders' first drive of the third quarter.
But Kahuku wasn't going to just roll over and give up. On the ensuing series Alapa drove the Red Raiders into Saint Louis territory on three straight completions and a handful of QB runs. He got hurt after a 4-yard run at the Saint Louis 35, but Robbie Sauvao came in and threw two consecutive strikes to Mason Paulo, including a 15-yard TD pass into the back corner of the end zone. Duke Heffernan tacked on the PAT to make it 23-7 with 2:38 to in the third quarter.
After the score the Red Raiders defense came to life as it forced a three-and-out and got an interception after Elaijahl Latu plucked down a free pass that got batted into the air in a battle between a receiver and defender. Sauvao was able to march Kahuku to the Saint Louis 20, but Feagins restored order with his 85-yard pick-six to put Saint Louis up 30-7 with 8:33 to play in regulation.
Sauvao bounced back and threw a 20-yard TD pass to Heffernan late in the fourth quarter, but it was a little too late as the Crusaders' first half lead turned out to be the final point differential.
"It's a learning experience for our coaches as well as our players," said Carvalho, who is the third different Kahuku coach that has lost to the Crusaders within the past three years. "We need to be better coaches and get our kids better prepared from start to finish."
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