HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Saint Louis quarterback Micah Mamiya scrambled while looking for an open receiver last night.
Saint Louis stays perfect in ILH
The league championship is not quite in the grasp of the No. 1-ranked Saint Louis Crusaders, but they took one giant step closer last night.
The giant step came from a 5-foot-8, 155-pound gamebreaker. Lucas Gonsalves' 42-yard touchdown catch in the final seconds of the first half proved to be the difference in Saint Louis' 7-0 win over No. 2 Punahou.
Gonsalves, who has a penchant for gathering a high ratio of touchdowns among his occasional receptions, gave the Crusaders defense all the cushion it needed. Punahou mustered 202 total yards of offense and dropped to 2-2 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (4-2 overall).
With just two league games left, Saint Louis improved to 4-0 and moved closer to both the ILH title and a return to the state championships. Punahou will need a minor miracle to catch the Crusaders.
"We're in the driver's seat now," coach Delbert Tengan said.
Saint Louis' defense was so dominant, it did not let the Buffanblu get any deeper than the Crusaders' 30-yard line. The closest Punahou got to the goal line was on its final drive. Reserve quarterback Cayman Shutter, who entered the game with 5 minutes left, connected with Robbie Toma on a 58-yard bomb to the Saint Louis 15-yard line with 3 seconds left. However, the play was called back because Shutter had passed the line of scrimmage before the throw, and Punahou didn't threaten again.
"Our defense really played well. Keone Haina came in for (linebacker Kapa'ihi) Umebayashi and did the job," Tengan said, noting an injury to Umebayashi in the first half. "It was a great team effort by our defense."
Brandon McKee intercepted two passes and Marcus Umu one for the Crusaders' stalwart secondary.
A conservative approach by both offenses made the first half almost generic, but Saint Louis came up big in the final minute before the break.
Mamiya rolled out to the left and launched a bomb to Gonsalves, who leaped for the ball at the 1-yard line and scored easily. The 42-yard touchdown gave the Crusaders a 7-0 lead with 11 seconds left in the first half.
"It's 90 Stop Tag," said Gonsalves, who was better known before the season for his role as a point guard on the basketball team. "I can either stop if he's above me or go if he plays below. That time, he was below, and Micah was scrambling. He saw me waving (at the goal line) and he just bombed it. I had to make a play."
Punahou coach Kale Ane wore a smile, but admitted the defeat -- a second to the defending league champions -- was tough to digest.
"I'm proud of our kids. We had a couple of tough calls, but they never quit. Losing is always painful. Our goal is always to go all the way. We had a chance at the end, and that's all you can ask," he said.
Saint Louis amassed 215 total yards by intermission. Punahou started linebacker Manti Te'o at running back, and used Dalton Hilliard at both wide receiver and running back. Still, the Buffanblu managed to pick up just 104 total yards in the first half.
The second half proved to be an exercise in ball control and clock management by the Crusaders, a team that endured a rough stretch of competition in recent weeks. Tengan alleviated much of the stress by permitting Mamiya to throw just five times in the second half. Saint Louis finished with 251 total yards, including 103 on the ground.
Te'o held his tears back until the stadium was nearly empty.
"Hats off to Saint Louis. They played a helluva game," the junior said. "I give it all for my brothers on this field, and they do the same for me. It was hard, but we kept picking each other up."
Iolani 28, Damien 21
Kela Marciel's 13-yard touchdown run with 1:26 to play lifted the Raiders over the Monarchs in a pivotal Division II battle. Iolani improved to 3-1 in league play, pushing Damien (1-3) further behind in the race for a state berth.
Lionel Fujioka's interception at midfield with 20 seconds left sealed a hard-earned win for the Raiders. Marciel finished with 172 passing yards and 108 rushing yards to lead Iolani. Justin Yamamoto added 123 yards on 20 carries for the Raiders, who overcame 189 rushing yards by Damien's Kama Bailey.
"We really improved our passing game, but Iolani has a great defense," Bailey said. "They're very disciplined, very smart. They do good assignments."
The Raiders had control of the tempo for most of the first half. Sean Nada's interception on the first play from scrimmage gave Iolani first down at the Damien 5-yard line. Three plays later, Yamamoto scooted in for a 1-yard touchdown run and Iolani led 7-0 with 10:28 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Raiders drove 97 yards to paydirt, boosted by Marciel's 45-yard keeper. Fujioka caught an out pass from Marciel, then cut back across the field for a 46-yard touchdown. Iolani led 14-0 with 11:35 to go in the first half.
Damien went five possessions without scoring, but Anthony Tuitele, who moved from safety to quarterback this week, got hot. The junior completed passes to Makana Kaanoi and Austin Dawson to move the Monarchs to the Iolani 1-yard line. Tuitele's sneak over the goal line on the next play cut the lead to 14-6 with 2:23 left in the half.
Damien got the ball back with 1:08 left before intermission. Bailey, who took occasional snaps at quarterback, rolled right, then broke loose to the left for an 86-yard touchdown with 15 seconds remaining in the first half. Tuitele's fade pass to Dawson on the 2-point conversion tied the game at 14.
After stopping Iolani's drive at the Damien 7-yard line, the Monarchs seized the lead 21-14 on Tuitele's 22-yard touchdown pass to Dawson with 1:09 left in the third quarter.
Iolani answered with an eight-play, 62-yard scoring drive. Yamamoto's end-around 24-yard touchdown run tied the game at 21 with 10:55 to go.