No. 1 Saint Louis trips Leilehua


POSTED: Sunday, August 30, 2009

In a matchup of offensive firepower, it took a defensive gem to lift No. 1 Saint Louis to a 28-21 win over No. 8 Leilehua.

Starr Sua-Passi's first-half interception return turned out to be the biggest difference in the interleague matchup at Hugh Yoshida Stadium.

Saint Louis is 3-0 in nonconference play. Leilehua dropped to 1-2 overall after committing 14 penalties for 134 yards. Saint Louis had 13 whistles for 99 yards.

The Saints got six sacks of Leilehua's ace, Andrew Manley, including three by Hoku Isaia.

Saints quarterback Jeremy Higgins outdueled his counterpart, Manley, by passing for 283 yards (20-for-33). Manley threw for 187 yards (18-for-31), but Higgins knew exactly how tough Manley had it.

“;Our defense, they all work hard, and they're real good at pass defense,”; Higgins said. “;They picked me off a couple of times at practice.”;







No. 1 Saint Louis28
No. 8 Leilehua21





Leilehua's defense got to Higgins three times for sacks, including two by Frazer Taua. Both quarterbacks spent much of the night sidestepping blitzers and dancing away from traffic. The Saints got by with a patched-up offensive line, Higgins said.

The visiting Saints had an erratic first half, by their standards, with three touchdowns, two turnovers and a punt in six possessions. Twice, Saint Louis drives ended with forced fumbles by Taua (6-foot-2, 250) and fumble recoveries by Charlie Tuaau (6-2, 290).

Still, with Saint Louis' defense controlling most of the tempo in the first half, the Crusaders never trailed. Higgins' 51-yard bomb to Joshua Tupua gave the Saints a 7-0 lead with 3:52 left in the first quarter.

After another Leilehua punt, Saint Louis drove 57 yards in five plays to paydirt. Higgins faked a screen pass and flicked a lob to slotback Shaun Ahlo near the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown play. The Saints led 14-0 with 48 seconds to go in the first.

A fumble by running back Vonn Feao, recovered by Tuaau at the Saint Louis 30-yard line, set up Leilehua's only score of the half.

Switching from the pistol and shotgun to an under-center formation with tight splits, the Mules gave Manley time to throw. He responded with completions to Tyler Boone before hitting Blaine Furtado over the middle, and Furtado used two key blocks to weave across the field for a 35-yard touchdown play.

Leilehua trailed 14-7 with 8:55 to go in the first half.

The Mules were driving at midfield when Manley's flare pass to C.J. Bailey was picked off by Sua-Passi, who raced 46 yards for a touchdown. Sua-Passi was whistled for taunting near the end of the play, but the Saints were ahead 21-7 with 3:28 before halftime.

Leilehua had one more drive before intermission, but it stalled and Boone missed left on a 40-yard field-goal attempt with 40 seconds left.

The Mules seized momentum after halftime by going to a no-huddle offense. A 50-yard kick return by Carlos Marshall gave them good field position, and Manley began to fire out of the pocket. He directed a six-play drive to the end zone. His 15-yard bullet to Kamana Akagi in the left corner brought the Mules within 21-14 with 9:52 left in the third quarter.

Higgins directed a five-play, 70-yard march, hitting Jordan Fukumoto on an out pattern for a 1-yard scoring toss. The Saints led 28-14 with 11:08, silencing the Yoshida Stadium crowd.