Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
Crusaders defense dooms Buffanblu early, often


Sat, Oct 27, 2018 @ Aloha Stadium [ 6:00 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
PUN (7-3-0) 0 7 7 721
STL (11-0-0) 14 14 3 1445
Pass: K. Muasau (PUN) 309 yd 3 TD
Rush: R. Paikai (STL) 104 yd 0 TD
Rec: T. Falatea (PUN) 139 yd 2 TD

HALAWA — A menacing defense struck early to help No. 1 Saint Louis down No. 2 Punahou, 45-21, Saturday night to give the Crusaders their third consecutive and 39th overall Interscholastic League of Honolulu title at Hawaiian Financial FCU Field at Aloha Stadium.

Quarterback Jayden de Laura passed for two touchdowns and ran in two more to pace the Crusaders (9-0), who will represent the ILH in the Open state tournament, which starts Nov. 9. Joining the Crusaders will be the top three Oahu Interscholastic Association Open teams. The Buffanblu (7-3) will pack their equipment despite being second in the Hawaiian Electric/ScoringLive Power Rankings.

"Just going to the state championship (tournament) is a blessing, going for the three-peat," Saint Louis linebacker Kila Kamakawiwoole said. "We have to go back to work, hit the books, go back to film, stay humble and keep working."

Punahou's first play from scrimmage set the tone for the game. Quarterback Hugh Brady dropped back and was drilled by linebacker Jordan Botelho, who not only forced a fumble, but also returned it 5 yards for a touchdown just two minutes into the game.

Brady sustained what was anticipated as a concussion on the play, said Punahou coach Kale Ane, who added that the QB was taken to the hospital as a precaution at halftime.

"That just lit fire to the defense," Kamakawiwoole said of the play. "We liked that Jordan came up and made that play that we needed."

But Botelho was ejected from the game with seven minutes left in the second quarter for his second flagrant violation. He could be ineligible for Saint Louis' first state semifinal.

A fumble and an interception by Junior Wily set up two other scores for Saint Louis. It was that kind of night for the Buffanblu.

"Their defense is great," Ane said. "And their offense is great, too. It's a tough battle and we're hopeful that (Brady) will be OK and hope that Kobe (Muasau, the backup QB) can learn from this and I'm sure he will."

Muasau wasn't just pressed into duty but had to play from behind. He threw a staggering 63 passes, completing 35 for 309 yards and three TDs. He was intercepted three times. His most effective target was Les Falatea, who had 12 receptions for 139 yards.

De Laura completed 16 of 26 passes for 268 yards. He was intercepted once, by Jonah Henry. De Laura scored on TD runs of 4 and 25 yards. At one point in the game, he had only one more pass attempt than rushing try. He finished with 52 rushing yards on 19 running plays (sacks count as running plays in high school). He did the same when Saint Louis beat Punahou in the regular season, 35-28. He had 84 rushing yards and two TDs in a game he was intercepted four times.

"The first game we played them, I didn't know I was going to have to run that much," de Laura said. "Coming into this game, I knew I had to use my feet more."

De Laura also tossed TD passes of 50 yards to Makoa Close and 19 yards to Chance Beyer. Close led the Saints with 111 receiving yards on just three catches.

Backup QB Connor Apo joined the act with a 67-yard TD run late in the game. Garyn Napuunoa booted a 25-yard field goal in the third period.

Muasau fired TD passes of 36
and 5 yards to Falatea and 5 yards to Alex Thompson. The last TD came with 11 seconds left in the game.

About the only issue with Saint Louis was that it penalized 22 times for 172 yards.

The closest Punahou pulled to Saint Louis was in the second quarter when it was 21-7. But the Saints scored on de Laura's 25-yard run to make it 28-7 at the half.

Punahou pulled to 28-14 in the third but watched Saint Louis score 17 points before the Buffanblu scored on its last series of the game.

For the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Open Division Football State Championships, the Crusaders will matchup with the runner-up of next Friday's OIA title game between Kahuku and Mililani.

Saint Louis defeated the Red Raiders in the previous two Open Division State Championship games and also beat them 30-14 in this season's interleague meeting on Sept. 7. Their game against Mililani was scheduled for Aug. 25 but was cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Lane.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].




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