Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, November 17, 2001


St. Louis' Tavita Thompson brings down Aiea quarterback
Lole Laolagi in last night's Crusader victory.

Crusaders peaking at right time

By Jason Kaneshiro

After chugging along for much of the regular season, the St. Louis football machine looks like it's revving up for a run at the state title.

The Crusaders put together one of their most efficient performances of the season last night, rolling to a 54-7 win over Aiea in the quarterfinals of the Chevron State Football Championships at Aloha Stadium.

St. Louis, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, will face Kailua in the semifinals of the state tournament Friday.

Aiea, still smarting from its loss to Kahuku in last week's Oahu Interscholastic Association championship, simply couldn't match the size, speed and skill of St. Louis.

"They played their hearts out, our kids did a good job," Aiea coach Wendell Say said. "And like I said, we're not going to let the last two games detract from what our kids have done this season."

St. Louis quarterback Bobby George, who sat out most of the second half, completed 8 of 12 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns, all to receiver Jason Rivers.

Rivers, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound junior, finished with three catches for 109 yards and had touchdown receptions of 23, 40 and 46 yards.

"I think they're just coming of age, that connection of Bobby (also a junior) and Jason," St. Louis coach Cal Lee said. "These guys are real hot right now and I hope they stay hot for next week."

The St. Louis running game chipped in 227 yards. B.J. Batts rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Prince Brown had 81 yards and two touchdowns.

Batts scored on runs of 2 and 4 yards, while Brown had 8- and 3-yard touchdown runs. Justin Cabansag also scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter as all three of the Crusaders' top backs scored for the second game in a row.

The Crusaders scored on six of their first seven possessions of the game to take a 41-0 lead into halftime. In contrast, Aiea's first-half possessions ended with five punts, three lost fumbles and an interception.

St. Louis ended the half with 372 yards in total offense, while Aiea managed just 25.

Aiea moved the ball effectively early in the game, driving to the St. Louis 25 on its first possession. But the St. Louis defense hemmed in Aiea quarterback Lole Laolagi thereafter. The Crusaders hurried Laolagi 15 times and sacked him four times. Defensive end Tolifili Liufau had five of those hurries.

Laolagi finished with 11 completions in 22 attempts for 40 yards.

"I think they had to get adjusted because he does throw the ball quickly, and he's a scrambler," Lee said of his defense. "I think they adjusted real well in the first quarter ... so they could stop his mobility and tighten up on the coverage."

Na Alii got on the scoreboard at the 5:50 mark of the third quarter on a 33-yard pass from Reuben Medeiros to Calvin Martinez on a fake punt.

On fourth-and-12, Medeiros dropped back to punt, but instead lobbed a pass to Martinez who was alone in the end zone.

But St. Louis extended its lead with a six-play, 58-yard drive capped by Brown's second touchdown of the game. Batts' fourth-quarter touchdown run provided the final margin.

The Crusaders must now prepare to face Kailua in next week's semifinals. The Surfriders defeated Waiakea 53-8 last night on the Big Island.

"They're a good football team," Lee said. "They're big, they're strong and if you don't be careful they'll run up the points on you. So we've got our work cut out for us next week."

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