Saturday, November 24, 2001
[ PREP FOOTBALL ]
For St. Louis, it was one of those nights when everything went right. Funny how the Crusaders seem to be having a lot of those nights lately.
falls to St. Louis
By Jason Kaneshiro
St. Louis advanced to the finals of the Chevron State Football Championship with an impressive 49-7 win over Kailua last night at Aloha Stadium. The Crusaders will face Kahuku on Friday for the title.
"It's a tremendous privilege to get into the state playoffs. It's an honor to get into the finals," St. Louis coach Cal Lee said. "You have to feel good about yourself, and it's a credit to the whole team to get there. And whatever happens happens. The ball bounces one way today and next week it might bounce the other. I've seen it happen."
The Crusaders, who defeated Aiea 54-7 in last week's quarterfinals, simply dominated the Surfriders from the opening kickoff and cruised to their third consecutive state final. Kailua was hampered by the suspension of four starters for disciplinary reasons. They were wideouts Ryan Lum and Micah Brown, and cornerbacks Kepa Kailio and Jeff Cummings.
St. Louis racked up 447 total yards while holding Kailua to 157. The Crusaders limited Kailua, which rushed for 374 yards last week against Waiakea, to just 32 on the ground last night. In their last four games, the Crusaders have surrendered 91 yards rushing.
Crusader linebacker Taualai Fonoti led the way with eight tackles, two quarterback sacks and six hurries. Defensive end Tolifili Liufau added five tackles, including a sack.
"They just played assignment football," Lee said of his defense. "They knew their assignments, they knew it took a whole team defensive effort to stop a good team like Kailua and they did that tonight."
St. Louis had no such problems moving the ball, as the Crusaders rushed for 206 yards and passed for 241 more.
St. Louis quarterback Bobby George and receiver Jason Rivers exploited the weakened Kailua secondary, connecting on seven completions for 179 yards and three touchdowns. George finished with eight completions in 12 attempts for 198 yards and sat out most of the second half.
But it was the effectiveness of the St. Louis ground attack that opened the passing lanes. Prince Brown led the Crusaders with 71 yards and two touchdowns. B.J. Batts added 59 yards and a touchdown.
"Sometimes you have to take what they give you, and they really gave us the run tonight," Lee said. "We're not going to be that foolish not to take it."
St. Louis scored on five of its seven possessions to take a 35-7 lead into halftime. George and Rivers hooked up five times for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the half, deflating Kailua's hopes for an upset against the 16-time Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion.
"The kids came in with a lot of emotion," Kailua coach Darren Johnson said. "We needed to settle down quicker and try to play ball instead of letting our emotions take over."
Kailua quarterback Taleki Mailau completed 8 of 15 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for a team-high 33 yards. Running backs Brenton Harbottle and Nathan Leaver were held to a net of minus-1 yard rushing on seven carries.
The Crusaders took command on the opening series of the game, stuffing Kailua on three plays. The Surfriders were forced to punt, and Kainoa Fernandez returned it 26 yards to the Kailua 45. The St. Louis ground game took over from there, as four backs accounted for 26 yards with Brown capping the drive with a 1-yard dive for the Crusaders' first touchdown.
Batts handled the honors on St. Louis' next drive, scoring on a 4-yard run.
The Surfriders forced the Crusaders to punt on their first possession of the second quarter, but promptly fumbled the ball away at their own 16. St. Louis took advantage on the next play as Brown rumbled untouched through the Kailua defense for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
Kailua got on the scoreboard on its next offensive play. Mailau threw a hitch pass to Kealii Kalahiki, who broke a tackle and sprinted away from the Crusader pursuers for a 65-yard touchdown.
But the Surfrider celebration was short-lived as St. Louis responded with a four-play drive covering 75 yards. George tossed a 9-yard pass on a fade pattern to Rivers for the score.
The duo struck again with 2:32 left in the second quarter, this time it was a 31-yard connection down the right sideline to give the Crusaders a 35-7 lead.
St. Louis kept the points rolling after halftime, scoring 1:36 into the third quarter on Rivers' third touchdown, a 47-yard connection from George.
With the score at 42-7, a running clock was used for the remainder of the game.
Even the Crusaders' miscues turned into gold. Keahua Bowman fumbled at the end of a long run, but the ball was scooped up by Todd Dickerson at the Kailua 41 and he took it to the end zone to close the scoring.
The loss ended the Surfriders' longest run in the state tournament as they advanced to the semifinals for the first time.
"It's a good thing for the kids to experience because we expect to be here every year," Johnson said. "Hopefully this year will teach us something, we'll go back as coaches and regroup and get ready for next year.
"We felt good about our chance at St. Louis, but we made too many mistakes tonight."
The Crusaders will now prepare to face Kahuku in the state championship game for the third consecutive year. The defending state champion Red Raiders defeated Waimea 21-7 in the first semifinal last night. The game will also end Lee's coaching career at St. Louis.
"They are always ready to play, plus they have some extra motivation because it's Cal's last game," Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai said. "We will have to play better."
At Aloha Stadium
St. Louis (10-0-1) 14 21 14 0 -- 49 Kailua (10-3) 0 7 0 0 -- 7
StL -- Prince Brown 1 run (Mike Houar kick)
StL -- Barry Batts 4 run (Houar kick)
StL -- Brown 16 run (Houar kick)
Kail -- David Kaihenui 65 pass from Taleki Mailau (John Heu kick)
StL -- Jason Rivers 9 pass from Bobby George (Houar kick)
StL -- Rivers 31 pass from George (Kaeo Adams kick)
StL -- Rivers 47 pass from George (Adams kick)
StL -- Todd Dickerson 41 fumble recovery (Adams kick)
RUSHING -- St. Louis: Brown 10-71, Batts 6-59, Cabansag 10-50, Bowman 3-26, Ross Dickerson 4-15, Higa 5-14, George 2-(-14), Kubic 1-(-15). Kailua: Mailau 14-33, Leaver 2-1, Harbottle 5-(-2).
PASSING -- St. Louis: George 8-12-3-1-198, Sokugawa 1-2-0-0-43, Kubic 0-1-0-0. Kailua: Mailau 8-15-1-2-125.
RECEIVING -- St. Louis: Rivers 7-179, Bowman 1-43, Fernandez 1-19. Kailua: Kaihenui 3-66, Kalahiki 2-27, Soalo 1-20, Kalaau 1-11, Abejon 1-1.
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