Thursday, September 19, 2002


Quarterback Bobby George will lead St. Louis against national No. 1 De La Salle on Saturday night.

The wait is
almost over

St. Louis can finally focus
on ending De La Salle's
126-game winning streak

Surfriders off and running

By Jason Kaneshiro

For Bobby George, the hard part may already be over.

Ever since the game between St. Louis and national powerhouse De La Salle was announced in February, the Crusader quarterback tried to stay focused on the here and now. He reminded himself to concentrate on the next game or the next practice. But thoughts of De La Salle would inevitably seep through the cracks.

Who: Kahuku vs. Long Beach Poly, 5 p.m.; St. Louis vs. De La Salle, 8 p.m.
When: Saturday
Where: Aloha Stadium; parking lots open at 2 p.m.; gates open at 3 p.m.
TV: KGMB (time TBD)
Radio: KUMU 1500-AM

"I could be doing homework and my mind will just slip to a play we could be running this week," George said. "It's been pretty hard just to focus."

Now, finally, the Spartans are here and Saturday will be the time for the Crusaders to take their shot at ending the longest winning streak in the history of high school football at 126.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," junior linebacker Tualau Fale said. "There have been several players before us who wanted this ... We know we're playing not only for ourselves and the state, but also former St. Louis players. So we count it as a blessing to have this opportunity to play against De La Salle."

The Crusaders and Spartans meet in the second game of the HHSAA Football Classic on Saturday at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

The Spartans are ranked first in six major national polls, while St. Louis is ranked anywhere from 10th to 20th nationally in four polls.

De La Salle's well-documented streak reached 126 games with last week's 24-0 win over Archbishop Mitty. In their preparations to avoid becoming win number 127, the Crusaders have turned up the intensity in practice, where hits have been accompanied by louder pops than usual.

"Everybody's running around faster, everybody's screaming louder. Everybody can just let it all out this week," George said.

Said Fale: "Practice has always been hyped and it seems to have gone up a couple notches. Everybody knows what's at stake, who we're playing against and what we're representing here."

The Crusaders have had two weeks to prepare for De La Salle after beating Punahou 49-0 on Sept. 7. They spent last week ironing out the wrinkles in their schemes and trying to prepare for a De La Salle squad that may not be physically imposing, but epitomizes precision.

"The first thing that comes to my mind is they execute, everything is just perfect," George said. "They're all off the ball at the same time, they're all where they're supposed to be. In order for us to do well we have to play perfect as well."

De La Salle has been perfect for the past decade, but the Crusaders know nothing lasts forever. This year's seniors were sophomores on the squad that lost to Kahuku in the 2000 state championship game, breaking St. Louis' string of 15 Prep Bowl or state titles.

"A lot of weird stuff has happened," safety Timo Paepule said. "The Patriots beat the Rams, Mike Tyson getting knocked out, now this could be one of the upsets of the year. I really hope we can be the ones to stop the streak just like Kahuku stopped ours. I want to know how they felt."

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