In the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, success in the regular season is protected.
That’s why No. 1 Saint Louis is sitting in the driver’s seat. The Crusaders had a bye last week, and will face fourth-ranked Kamehameha at Aloha Stadium on Saturday night in the ILH second-round title game. Kamehameha needs to beat Saint Louis for the second-round title, then beat the Crusaders in the overall championship next week to claim the ILH crown.
It’s the kind of scenario that could be dangerous for unbeaten Saint Louis, especially against a hungry Kamehameha squad which is in elimination mode. Crusaders coach Cal Lee chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Thursday.
HPW: What season it has been for Saint Louis, taking on tougher competition with each week, beating Narbonne, and then getting to this point. But Kamehameha is playing their best football right now.
Lee: They’ve improved so much since the start of the season. Their last game (a 44-31 win over Punahou), they played really well offensively and defensively. We’re not taking anything for granted. We’ve got to prepare really well. They’re coming off a big win and have a lot of energy. For us, we’ve got to work hard. Right now, it doesn’t matter what we did before.
HPW: Whatever Coach Abu Ma‘afala and his staff are doing, it’s working great. Normally, he’s available for interviews, but recently, he’s been politely declining comment. It’s a tough job coaching in the ILH.
Lee: People are people, and they have their ideas about things, but you do what you know is best for your program.
HPW: What do you like when you see Kamehameha’s defense?
Lee: Their front four, their front seven actually is really good. They got a lot better. They can play the run and they can pressure the quarterback. They’re well-coached and it shows because every time they play they get better and better. I’m impressed with the way they come along.
HPW: Human nature is what it is. Your team has been so successful, already beaten Kamehameha twice. How do you overcome the tendency to become complacent?
Lee: What you’ve got to do when you prepare is practice, go against each other and work on the things you need to do to get better. I think that’s how you get better, just by practicing. Things that you’re not doing well consistently, try and do it better. You can always get better. You can tell ‘em all you want, and they might think we beat them twice already. But there’s nobody perfect out there, always things you can do better.
HPW: How is (offensive coordinator) Ron Lee approaching the playoffs?
Lee: Offensively, we’re focused too. We’re playing them like we lost. I don’t care how many points we’ve scored, we have to have the attitude of scoring every time we have the ball.