Efficient St. Louis
rolls past Kahuku
The Crusaders put up 27 pointsBy Pat Bigold
in the first half and cruise in for the win
Jason Gesser passed for 225 yards and three touchdowns -- all of them in the first half -- and that was all the nationally ranked St. Louis Crusaders needed to overhaul Kahuku, 27-7, last night at Aloha Stadium.
St. Louis, No. 5 in the National Prep Poll (Associated Press, ESPN) and No. 21 in USA Today's "Super 25," improved to 2-0. It was the first game between Kahuku and St. Louis since the Crusaders' 27-26 victory in the 1995 Prep Bowl.
Gesser, who completed 14 of 21 passes with no interceptions, tossed two scoring strikes to Craig Stutzman in the first quarter (the senior slotback's third and fourth touchdown catches of the season) to give the Crusaders a 14-7 lead.
But it was the pass that set up St. Louis' rushing touchdown that really wowed the crowd.
Early in the second quarter, Gesser scrambled out of the pocket toward the sideline at the Red Raiders 20 yard line. Catching sophomore slotback Gerald Welch out of the corner of his eye, Gesser flipped a fall-away pass halfway across the field that Welch niftily hauled in at the 5 and took down to the 3.
Sophomore fullback Damien Cole took scored from there to give the Crusaders a 21-7 lead.
Cole, who started in place of junior Noah Campbell finished with 87 yards on seven carries.
''That's just Gesser's athleticism," said St. Louis head coach Cal Lee.
"I just got a glance at a white jersey coming back to the ball, and that was Gerald," said Gesser, who admitted using more instinct than vision on the play. "I didn't know whether or not he was going to catch it because I got hit pretty hard and I didn't see what happened."
Kahuku (0-2) opened the game by driving deep into St. Louis territory. But Una Latu intercepted a Robert Thompson pass that bounced off the hands of Teviata Ngalu at the Crusaders' 27.
Five plays later, Gesser hit Stutzman with a 13-yarder that opened the scoring with 7:16 left in the quarter.
The two connnected again four minutes later, this time from 57 yards out and St. Louis had a 14-0 lead.
Kahuku's Hausia Faleofa, who rushed for 107 yards on 16 carries, brought the Red Raiders to within 14-7 on a 2-yard run.
But St. Louis kept Kahuku at arm's length the rest of the way.
Defensive tackle Tony Tata scored the Crusaders' final touchdown when he caught a 6-yard pass from Gesser midway through the second quarter.
"It was on our elephant play when we put all our big guys in and try to power the ball in,'' said Gesser. ''I saw him back there and he made a good catch."
Tata also stood out on defense, making seven tackles, two of them for losses.
St. Louis 14 13 0 0--27 Kahuku 7 0 0 0-- 7St.L--Stutzman 13 pass from Gesser (Lau kick)
St.L--Stutzman 57 pass from Gesser (Lau kick)
Kah--Faleofa 2 run (Kahalepuna kick)
St.L--Cole 3 run (Lau kick)
St.L--Tata 6 pass from Gesser (kick failed)