[ HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ]
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
St. Louis' Tualau Fale celebrated after St. Louis beat Kamehameha last night to win the ILH football title.
Crusaders winOnce again, the St. Louis Crusaders' team bus rocked with jubilation last night in the Aloha Stadium parking lot, while Kamehameha players trudged toward their busses and could only ponder what might have been.
ILH title again
St. Louis fends off elimination for the second
week in a row to earn a spot in states
By Jason Kaneshiro
St. Louis extended its string of Interscholastic League of Honolulu football championships to 17 as the Crusaders defeated Kamehameha 27-12 in the league title game.
St. Louis (8-2, 7-1) also earns the ILH's lone berth in the Chevron State Football Championship. The Crusaders face Farrington in a first-round game Friday at Aloha Stadium.
The win was St. Louis' second over Kamehameha in as many weeks. The Crusaders forced the championship game with a 14-13 victory over the Warriors on Nov. 9.
"Two months ago people had us pegged for finishing the season early," St. Louis coach Delbert Tengan said. "To the credit of our team and coaches we stuck to our guns and stuck with the fundamentals. We're getting better with every game and hopefully we can do that again next week."
"We've been playing playoff football since our first loss to Kamehameha," Tengan added, referring to the Crusaders' 41-20 defeat to Kamehameha in the teams' first meeting on Sept. 27.
"We knew that if we had lost any game along the way our season would be over at the end of the regular season. Our guys, to their credit, have been able to focus and pull it out week in and week out."
St. Louis quarterback Bobby George completed 19 of 30 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown. Jason Rivers caught a career-high 12 of those throws for 106 yards and a score. Shane Butcher added five catches for 98 yards.
B.J. Batts and Justin Cabansag contributed to the St. Louis offense with 197 rushing yards.
But the St. Louis defense proved to be the difference as the Crusaders forced seven Kamehameha turnovers and scored on a fumble return.
"We just played St. Louis ball," said Crusaders defensive lineman Tolifili Liufau, who played his final game last night. "Today's game was all teamwork. Nobody was selfish, it was all teamwork."
Keao Monteilh stepped in for an injured Pase Fiaseu at cornerback and enjoyed a career night, snagging four of St. Louis' five interceptions.
"He had a great night," Tengan said. "He stepped in for Pase Fiaseu this week and like we tell our kids all the time, 'If you're a backup, you'd better be ready.' He was ready tonight."
Kamehameha ends its season with a record of 6-2 in the ILH and 10-2 overall. The loss overshadowed a fine performance by Keoni Ruth, who caught 11 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Warrior quarterback Kawai Akina completed 13 of 19 passes for 214 yards, but also tossed three interceptions and fumbled twice.
St. Louis struck first as Monteilh's first interception led to the game's opening score. The Crusaders took six plays to drive 75 yards with George hitting Rivers on a post pattern for a 37-yard touchdown.
George and Rivers hooked up a total of 10 times for 91 yards in the first half.
"When you have a guy like Jason, you're always going to try to get him the ball. But he's not a one-man team ," George said. "We try to spread the ball out, but the reads were there where Jason was open, so we tried to get him the ball."
St. Louis took a 10-0 lead on Kaeo Adams' 34-yard field goal to open the second quarter.
Akina took over for Caleb Spencer at quarterback for Kamehameha in the second period and led the Warriors to their first score of the game. Akina completed 5 of 6 passes for 63 yards on the drive, including a 3-yard scoring toss to Ruth.
Kamehameha got the ball back on a fumble recovery by Matt Morgado and took the lead when Akina hit Ruth for a 19-yard score. Akina completed all four passes on the drive. However, Kepa Gaison's extra-point attempt hit the right upright and Kamehameha held a 12-10 lead.
St. Louis responded with a 29-yard field goal by Adams with five seconds left in the half to take a 13-12 advantage into the locker room.
Kamehameha's first play of the second half ended in disaster as Akina had the ball slip out of his hand as he tried to throw. St. Louis defensive lineman Wilson Afoa recovered the fumble at the 3 and took it in for a touchdown to give the Crusaders a 20-12 lead.
Justin Cabansag padded the St. Louis advantage with an 11-yard touchdown run with 3:12 left in the third quarter.
The Crusader defense sealed the game in the fourth quarter by stopping the Warriors on fourth-and-goal at their 1 and Monteilh added his fourth interception later in the period.
"I think that's the best I've ever seen our defense play," George said. "I just hope they can continue to play like that throughout the tournament. They did a wonderful job, without them we probably would have lost this game."
At Aloha Stadium
Kamehameha (6-2, 10-2) 0 12 0 0 -- 12 St. Louis (7-1, 8-2) 7 6 14 0 -- 27
StL -- Jason Rivers 37 pass from Bobby George (Kaeo Adams kick)
StL -- Adams FG 34
Kam -- Keoni Ruth 3 pass from Kawai Akina (kick failed)
Kam -- Ruth 19 pass from Akina (kick failed)
StL -- Adams FG 29
StL -- Wilson Afoa 3 fumble return (Adams kick)
StL -- Justin Cabansag 11 run (Adams kick)
RUSHING -- Kamehameha: Travis Beyer12-41, Caleb Spencer 3-22, Ruth 1-4, Sy Cullen 1-3, Akina 4-(-31). St. Louis: Cabansag 14-78, B.J. Batts 20-119, George 1-(-14), Timo Paepule 3-3, Rivers 1-1.
PASSING -- Kamehameha: Spencer 7-19-2-42, Akina 13-19-3-214. St. Louis: George 19-33-0-232.
RECEIVING -- Kamehameha: Josh Vierra 4-54, Ruth 11-134, Spencer 1-28, Kahe Santos 1-9, Dustin Grace 1-31. St. Louis: Rivers 12-106, Johnny Gentry 1-13, Shane Butcher 5-98, Makaala Kuewa 1-15.
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