HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Leilehua's Randy White and Brian Cabebe celebrated moments after Leilehua's Prep Bowl victory over Saint Louis in 1984.
Vivid memories of ’84 for Yoshida, Lee
Leilehua shut out Saint Louis 23 years ago, the last time an OIA team won the Oahu Prep Bowl
JUST how much they remember -- and what they remember -- varies a bit.
Hugh Yoshida and Cal Lee, the coaches of Leilehua and Saint Louis in the 1984 Oahu Prep Bowl, rightfully recall the 10-0 Mules victory with differing emotions.
"Anytime it was a new season, the most recent victory or defeat or event that took place as far as football was concerned, it would always refer back to that game," said Yoshida, the former Hawaii athletic director and namesake of the Mules' football stadium. "It was always the benchmark we used for our kids."
"You're bringing up some bad memories," said a sheepish Lee, who suffered a rare defeat in his 21-year tenure as the Crusaders coach.
That game 23 years ago might be a little too far removed to fully impart upon the 2007 Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Mules, who take on the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Crusaders in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I state football championship game today at Aloha Stadium. Some people, however, remember it pretty clearly.
The Mules' coach at the time, Hugh Yoshida, remembers defense making the difference.
It's fresh in Lee's mind -- in fact, he ran into Yoshida on Monday, reviving some old emotions.
"Whenever I see the old legend, Coach Yoshida, I think of Leilehua in 1984," Lee said. "I can remember vividly like we played yesterday."
What it came down to was defense.
"We were conceding the short stuff, the short passes," Yoshida said. "Then, we were really lucky as far as putting pressure on the quarterback. We threw some stunts in that forced them into a predictable situation."
On what turned out to be the biggest play of the game, the Mules blitzed and forced a fumble, which Leilehua recovered and ran back about 60 yards for the game's only touchdown. They later moved the ball and tacked on a field goal for the final margin.
Does Yoshida think back on the win often?
"Well, not really," he said. "I think it's like everything else, after you win it there's memories of the game that will always be with you."
It turned out to be momentous. Leilehua was the last OIA team to win the Prep Bowl, while Saint Louis went on to dominate under Lee and win the last 13 before that system was abolished in favor of a statewide tournament in 1999 -- which the Crusaders also won.
"I'm sure the coaching staff up there this year, they remember Leilehua and that time," Lee said. "But it's a different place, different time and different players. You've gotta go at 'em, practice hard and work hard. If you do those things you have a chance, like anybody else does. That's why you play the game."
For Cal Lee, the Crusaders' coach back then, it's a "bad" memory.