Saint Louis kicked off, Kahuku returned to its 25-yard line and we’re underway!
Saint Louis fumbles away the punt return — there was no room to breathe — and Hiapo McCandless recovers for Kahuku at the Saint Louis 42-yard line. Senior Ronald Hurlbut Jr. is starting at quarterback for Kahuku.
Kahuku punts after another third-and-long goes for naught. Saint Louis ball on its 4-yard line.
Saint Louis gets on the scoreboard, touchdown strike from Ryder Kuhns to Allan Cui for a 3-yard toss. PAT snap sails too high, no good on the desperation run. Saint Louis up 6-0 with less than 6 minutes to go in the first quarter.
Kahuku brought Tuli Matagi-Wily in at QB, but no improvement offensively as a unit. Yet.
Saint Louis got the ball back after a punt, but was whistled for holding a third time already tonight. Drive stalls.
Big Red looking and playing like Big Red now. After being stuffed by the Crusaders early on, Kahuku went basic, running dives and option plays (no pitches) right down the field. Then it was Power I time in the red zone. Former Kamehameha fullback Salanoa Wily, brother of Aofaga, scored from three yards out, right up the middle, and Jake Samsel’s PAT kick gives Kahuku a 7-6 lead with 10:08 left in the second quarter.
Sack by #32 Taliauli Vaifoou on Kuhns, but Noga shows off his skill set with a nice catch on a swing pass for a first down. Crusaders marching into Red Raider territory.
Big catch and run by Devan Stubblefield to the Kahuku 5-yard line. That leads to a touchdown by Allan Cui, the fly motion man, who took a micro-shovel pass from Kuhns and raced to the right pylon. Crusaders lead 13-7 with 7:25 left in the first half.
Big break for Saint Louis. A big hit on Kahuku WR Kuuliko Carvalho after a reception jarred the ball loose and the Saints recovered in Kahuku territory. The drive is on again.
Busted play — Kuhns handed off to the right, Noga went left, Kahuku’s Hawaka Jeremiah forced the fumble and Roman Salanoa recovered at the Kahuku 27-yard line.
Big Red on the move again, a long, meticulous grind. Dive right to the fullback. Option pitch. Quarterback keeper. Salanoa Wily. Soli Afalava. P.J. Liua. Tuli Matagi-Wily looks comfortable out there, just ran 18 yards for a first down after taking just one step on his drop. He looked left, ran right and looked like a merciless load to bring down at 6-3, 223 pounds.
Ball at the Saint Louis 24 and the Crusader defense looks just a bit wary. Wily is quite a story, a 260-pound fullback at Kamehameha last year before transferring back home. He is a FORCE.
Liua blasts through the left side, runs over a tackler and scores on a 21-yard touchdown run. PAT is good by Samsel and the Red Raiders lead 14-13 with 1:40 remaining in the first half.
McCandless with another big play, rushing untouched off the left side to sack Kuhns, who lost the ball. STL recovered, but it’s fourth down and Kahuku has burned a time out to stop the clock at 1:04.
Next play: roughing the punter by Kahuku.
That roughing-the-punter penalty comes back to haunt Kahuku. Saint Louis goes right down the field with a string of timely pass plays, getting first downs and getting out of bounds to stop the clock. Then Kuhns lasers a strike to Stubblefield down the right sideline for a 30-yard touchdown with :05 left.
Saints lead 20-14 at the half.
Saint Louis opens the second half with its fifth holding call of the game.
Matthew Mariota knocks through a 30-yard field goal to boost Saint Louis’ lead to 23-14 with 10:00 left in the third quarter.
Kahuku drives, third-down pass to Lamone Williams in the corner of the end zone is incomplete. Great defense by Saints cornerback Jaisen Sanchez. Samsel’s 25-yard field goal makes it 23-17 with 5:22 to go in the third.
A great punt return sets up Kahuku for a short drive, with P.J. Liua scoring up the middle on a 10-yard run. Samsel’s PAT makes it 24-23, Kahuku leads with less than 3 minutes left in the third.
Penalties really killing Saint Louis tonight. Personal fouls plus the holding calls.
Crusaders drive and take the lead. Kuhns’ 8-yard pass to Riccardo Salas III comes with 7:19 to play. Saint Louis takes time out and will go for 2 on the PAT, leading 29-24.
PAT: Kuhns to Stubblefield on an easy slant, barely defended. Saint Louis 31, Kahuku 24.
Fumble on the exchange between Matagi-Wily and Liua, recovered by Saint Louis lineman Jacob Morey with less than 6 minutes to play. Matagi-Wily is a first-year quarterback, but his ballhandling has been solid to this point.
Cui returns from a case of leg cramps and turns a short pass into a 25-yard gain to the 10-yard line … before cramping up again. Adam Noga scores around left end on the next play and Saint Louis leads 38-24 with 4:45 to go.
Final: 45-24. The Saints got a late touchdown run by Raymond Caayon on a nifty cutback to close the scoring.
As Kahuku Coach Reggie Torres said after the game, Saint Louis is a very good team. He added that his team did some things well and a lot of things not so well, like tackling. But he’s optimistic. It’s early.
Didn’t catch STL Coach Matt Wright, but I got a chance to talk with wide receiver Devan Stubblefield and cornerback Jaisen Sanchez. I’ll post those interviews up later. It’s been a busy, fun weekend. Now the work — editing video — really starts.
Check Billy Hull’s game story in Sunday’s Star-Advertiser.