DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Leilehua's Paul Hernandez was held to 9 yards on three carries by the swarming Saint Louis defense last night.
Saint Louis makes a statement
Kamehameha and Punahou grabbed their share of the glory by winning the Interscholastic League of Honolulu title in recent years.
Saint Louis is serving notice that the balance of power may just be with the team with the most balance. The Crusaders, grinding out lengthy drives on offense and using airtight pressure on defense, delivered a 20-0 win over Leilehua last night at Aloha Stadium.
"That was a good test for us. Leilehua is a bonafide top-10, top-five team," Saint Louis coach Delbert Tengan said. Third-ranked Saint Louis, which defeated McKinley last week, improved to 2-0.
Sixth-ranked Leilehua slipped to 1-1.
The Crusader defense, led by Solomona Aigamaua and Manoa Latu, allowed only 104 total yards by a normally explosive Mule offense.
"Offensively, we were able to finish some drives, other than the times we hurt ourselves," Tengan said, referring to two long snaps that sailed over the head of punter Jacob Barit.
Quarterback Micah Mamiya was highly efficient, directing the Saint Louis offense without committing a turnover. He completed 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 157 yards, outplaying his counterpart, Bryant Moniz.
Facing a tenacious pass rush all night, Moniz managed just 7-for-17 passing for 50 yards. He was picked off twice.
"We're playing steady on defense. We tried to take away their quick passing game," Tengan said. "That's how they like to move the chains."
Tengan noted key plays by cornerbacks Todd Nakano and Jeffrey Kahler. Nakano came up with a good rip to force an incompletion just when Leilehua's Martin Iosefo seemed to have a touchdown play deep in Saint Louis territory. Kahler used his speed to fight off a Mule receiver for a big interception near the goal line.
The inability to move the ball consistently was frustrating for the Mules.
"Saint Louis is an all-right team. We just weren't prepared mentally," said running back Micah Abreu-Laybon, who led Leilehua with 56 yards on nine carries. "We weren't executing like we should have. A lot of people, it was their first time in the (stadium) lights."
The Crusaders, using a shotgun with four-receiver sets, opened the game with an eight-play drive that culminated with a 33-yard field goal by Kenton Chun.
Leilehua's offense mustered just 20 total yards for the first half, but the Mule defense remained stubborn. Leilehua thwarted a Crusader drive midway through the second quarter when defensive lineman Viliami Hauga recovered a fumble by Austin Wahinekona at the Saint Louis 17-yard line.
Field position remained in the Crusaders' favor, though, after a 23-yard punt gave Saint Louis first down at the Leilehua 37-yard line. Mamiya connected with Ricksson Pacarro on a fly pattern for a 27-yard touchdown pass to give the Crusaders a 10-0 lead with 1:29 to go in the first half.
A 49-yard catch and sprint across the field by Keani Nishigaya set up Chun's second field goal, a 27-yarder, midway through the third quarter. That gave Saint Louis a 13-0 lead.
Moments later, Jordan Allencastre put a big hit on Leilehua kick returner Alex Cruz to force a fumble. Kapa'ihi Umebayashi recovered at the Mules' 12-yard line, and Lene Auelua scored two plays later on a 4-yard run.
Saint Louis led 20-0 with 3:47 left in the third quarter.
The Crusaders travel to Castle this weekend. Leilehua will battle longtime rival Radford in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West opener for both teams.
"Coach (Nolan Tokuda) said we just gotta come back hard next week," Abreu-Laybon said.
Marauders defeat Bulldogs 20-0
Keo Palimo'o ran for 87 yards on 11 carries and had a 2-point conversion as Waipahu (1-1) shut out Waialua (1-1) yesterday.
Waipahu's Gilchrist Fernandez added 70 yards and a touchdown.
Caleb Fore completed 10 passes for 122 yards for the Bulldogs (1-1).
Lahainaluna 33, Kamehameha-Maui 26
Simione Vehikite ran for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Lunas defeated the Warriors.
Bryson Williams scored a 1-yard touchdown to put the Lunas ahead with the game tied at 26-26 in the fourth quarter.
Kamehameha's Keahi Raikes completed eight passes for 118 yards and three TDs in the loss.
King Kekaulike 41, Pac-Three 7
Shannon Kamakaokalani ran for three touchdowns as Na Alii rolled past the Titans. Kamakaokalani got Na Alii on the board first with a 90-yard kickoff return. He later followed that up touchdown runs of 48 and 26 yards.