Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, December 1, 2001


Kahuku celebrated its 21-14 victory over St. Louis in the state football championship game last night.

Kahuku ‘D’ runs on power

Kahuku edges St. Louis
St. Louis eager to move on

By Jerry Campany

This is how you dismantle the dreaded "run-and-shoot."

Kahuku won its second straight state championship on the strength of its defense, holding previously unbeatable St. Louis to 214 yards of total offense en route to a 21-14 victory last night at Aloha Stadium.

One would think that the way to beat the Crusaders' offense would be to dream up an equally elaborate scheme on "D." But it's not so, it is as easy as beating the snot out of the guy in front of you.

"We just lined up and went after them," Kahuku defensive end Darrell Tachibana said. "Everyone is confident in our defense. We did a good job but could have done even better."

How the defense could have played better is up for debate.

The defense knocked Crusader quarterback Bobby George down 11 times, including one shot that sent him briefly to the sidelines in the second quarter.

Everyone got into the act, with eight players pressuring George at least once through the night.

Jonathan Mapu had six hurries and two knockdowns. Tachibana hurried George four times and knocked him down twice on his own. All told, the defensive line was in George's face nearly every time he dropped back to throw. Tachibana also led the Red Raiders in tackles with nine and Mapu added Kahuku's only sack.

He credits constant pressure from the two guys next to him.

"That was our plan," Mapu said. "We knew the way to stop them from throwing all day was to stop them from being able to throw."

Kahuku head coach Siuaki Livai devised the winning game plan. It was the second consecutive time the Red Raiders have been able to decipher the Crusader attack and win a state title. Livai isn't sure he will be able to survive too many more of these pressure-packed moments.

"(St. Louis head coach) Cal (Lee) built such a high mountain," Livai said. "If this is the pressure it takes to get one (or two), then 16 I don't think I can do it."

Kahuku 21, St. Louis 14

At Aloha Stadium

St. Louis 0 7 0 7 -- 14

Kahuku 0 7 14 0 -- 21

Kah -- Mulivai Pula 3 run (Solomon Lee kick)

StL -- Jason Rivers 34 pass from Chris Sokugawa (Michael Houar kick)

Kah -- Inoke Funaki 76 run (Lee kick)

Kah -- Pula 82 run (Lee kick)

StL -- Rivers 10 pass from Bobby George (Houar kick)

RUSHING -- Kahuku: Mulivai Pula 2-212, Inoke Funaki 16-111, Kimo Leung-Chio 7-21, Ferron Fonoimoana 1-3, Robert Tuifua 1-3, Earvin Atuaia 1-1, Team 1-(minus-14). St. Louis: Ross Dickerson 3-18, Prince Brown 2-8, Keahua Bowman 1-4, Bobby George 3-2, Justin Cabansag 1-0, Chris Sokugawa 1-(-2), B.J. Batts 3-(minus-4).

PASSING -- Kahuku: Funaki 3-8-0-28. St. Louis: George 15-37-0-145, Sokugawa 2-2-0-43.

RECEIVING -- Kahuku: James Kammerer 2-19, Pula 1-9. St. Louis: Rivers 6-98, Kainoa Fernandez 5-48, Tito Sallas 3-24, Dickerson 2-16, Bowman 1-2.

LEADING TACKLERS -- Kahuku: Darrell Tachibana 9 tackles, Jonathan Mapu 6 hurries. St. Louis: Taualai Fonoti 11 tackles, Timo Paepule 10 tackles.

A -- 24,841

St. Louis eager to move on

By Marc Dixon

Kahuku has the trophy, St. Louis has the banner of runner-up for another year. The final score was 21-14 in favor of the Red Raiders, but even in defeat, the Crusaders were already looking forward to next season.

Minutes after the final horn, while the Kahuku faithful erupted in athletic ecstasy, Crusader players were overheard saying, "When are we gonna start working out again?"

Although the coaching situation at St. Louis remains a mystery, the ILH champions are already sure of one thing for next season.

"We'll be back in this game next year, better believe that," said junior receiver Jason Rivers.

Rivers, the St. Louis offensive player of the game, hauled in both Crusader scores on touchdown passes and vowed that the team will work harder next year and get over the hump.

"We ain't going down," said Rivers. "You're gonna see us here over and over."

Junior quarterback Bobby George didn't have to wait until next season to showcase his ability to come back. After getting knocked out of the game in the second quarter, George returned to the field in the second half and finished the game. Although he was knocked down 11 times and sacked once, George still managed to throw for a second-half score.

"It was a good hit," said George. "Adrenaline got me back in the game. I've waited for this game my whole life."

George's replacement, Chris Sokugawa, threw a touchdown pass in relief prompting a speedier healing process in George. "He has pushed me all season," said George. "Without him and Andy Kubic this team would be nowhere near where we are."

In addressing the issue of a return to the championship game, George agreed with Rivers.

"I guarantee it," said George. "We'll move on, but we'll remember enough about this game to push us next year."

Senior linebacker Taualai Fonoti, the Crusader defensive player of the game added another comment about the 2002 season.

"I'll be somewhere else but this team will be right here," said Fonoti. "Next year's team may even be stronger than we are. Look out for them."

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