HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Mamiya’s brilliance puts Crusaders in top spot
Normally, Saint Louis relies on a devastating defense and superior special teams to win games.
This time, the difference in Friday's thrilling 38-35 win over Punahou was an X Factor named Micah Mamiya. While Punahou rallied from a 31-point deficit, Mamiya's efficiency at the helm of the Crusader offense was phenomenal. During the 11 plays he missed due to a hip injury, Saint Louis moved the ball 16 yards in 11 plays (not including punts).
With Mamiya on the field, Saint Louis gained 358 yards in 36 plays (not including kneel-downs at the end of the game), which is nearly a first down per snap. Mamiya ran for 113 yards and passed for 127, took only one sack and did not throw an interception. His mastery of Saint Louis' flex option and run-and-shoot hybrid offense was as good as it's been.
Still, it was just barely enough to get past Punahou because Brett Kan and his receivers were humming on all cylinders in the second half.
Kan passed for 385 yards, including 256 in the second half. After throwing for no touchdowns and a pick in the first half, Kan and his receiver corps put on a clinic. He was 22-for-35 after the break with four touchdowns and no interceptions. If it seems like Kan plays better when a game is on the line, that's because it's usually true.
In last year's state title game, Kan guided Punahou on a long drive in the final 2 minutes before an interception in the end zone stopped the Buffanblu. Against Washington state's top team, Eastlake, he guided Punahou on a late, game-winning drive. Then came the 35-point second half against a stout Saint Louis defense.
All statistics aside, what it really means is that Saint Louis is the only unbeaten team in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, while Punahou and Kamehameha (0-2 in conference play) are chasing. With just one state-tournament berth, the sequels coming down the road promise to be even more intriguing.
Saint Louis collected all 13 first-place votes to seize the No. 1 ranking in today's Star-Bulletin Top 10.