COUNTDOWN: No. 1 Saint Louis’ defense begins up front with Stanley Mckenzie

Saint Louis defensive lineman Stanley Mckenzie (94) sacked Kahuku quarterback Thorton Alapa (19) during a game last season. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Everything is up front for the Saint Louis Crusaders.

Or, it begins there. When Cal Lee returned to the campus four years ago, the program had talent across the board. The one area lacking depth was defensive line. The Crusaders reached the state final that season, losing to Kahuku.

In 2017, they stocked up at D-line with a horde of talent led by eventual All-State defensive player of the year Faatui Tuitele and All-State performer Gino Quinones. That’s when a string of three straight state championships began, by no coincidence.

The defense permitted just 157 points as the Crusaders went 11-0. Since ’17, they are 31-1 overall.

Tuitele is now at Washington. Quinones is at USC. The good times aren’t coming to an end, though. The Crusaders are still deep in the trenches. Stanley Mckenzie, the lone returning starter at D-line, led a tenacious pass rush in scrimmages against Kaimuki and Kailua over the weekend and is one of many reasons the Crusaders are No. 1 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Preseason Top 10. They were featured in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which you can read by clicking here.

Mckenzie, a football and baseball standout, hopes to play both sports when he arrives in Berkeley next summer to play for the Cal Bears. For now, he is stoked, but not surprised, about the progress of his fellow D-linemen.

Darrell Masaniai is on my left and Anthony Sagapolutele is on my right. They’re returnees, and it was a tight group last year. They understand their jobs. If everyone does their assignments, the offense won’t move the ball,” Mckenzie said. “We’ll miss Tui and Gino, but we’re picking up where they left off.”

Sagapolutele has impressed Lee.

“Anthony has shown that he’s ready to go. He’s got a lot of energy. He’s got that quickness and he’s smart,” Lee said. “He’s not the size of Tui, but he’s got more quickness. I like his attitude. The players like him because he’s one of the vocal ones. Talks a lot, runs a lot, does everything full speed. I’m excited for him playing.”

The defensive unit was the constant in 2018. Even with the slightest drop-off, it would still be among the top units in the state. Their play gives the linebackers and secondary all kinds of takeaway possibilities.

“I’d grade them an A plus,” senior linebacker Jordan Botelho said. “The D-line is something we’re definitely looking forward to. They’re stepping up.”

Kamo‘i Latu’s range and playmaking ability are off the charts, but his decisions will have plenty to do with the effectiveness of his teammates at the point of contact.

“It all starts up front with our D-line. As a DB, I’ve got to thank the D-line getting in there,” the senior safety said. “They get an A plus, plus extra credit.”

That’s not to say there is any sense of complacency.

“We’re not all there yet, but we have great team effort,” Latu added. “The whole defense ran to the ball (against Kaimuki). After watching film, we corrected some things. Tackling, running to the ball.”


  1. Punahou Alum August 2, 2019 8:02 am

    4 peat. and even if Saint Louis does recruit, thats why they the best, if you dont like it just join em or start recruiting yourself. It is what it is and thats why they unbeatable. So stop complaining and try to beat them if you want to do something about it. st louis set the tone for hawaii high school people and people from hawaii should be backing them instead of going against them. They represent hawaii as a whole and allows more recruits from the college level to look at hawaii as a whole. To many haters. But i guess thats how it is, when you winning, haters going hate and give any excuse why. Again 4 peat here we come.

  2. HailFromDaNorth August 2, 2019 2:41 pm

    Very true @punahou Saint Louis is a powerhouse right now and they’re representing Hawaii on a national stage. I want all the Hawaii teams to do good. I hope Saint Louis beats gorman And Mililani beats St John Bosco and Liberty. We all represent Hawaii that’s the bigger picture. I stand tall and proud represent my alma mater #RR4L But to see a kid from Hawaii excel in a D1 school and make it to the NFL that’s what it’s all about. Cuz to be real it took other competitive schools to get that school better. Like they said Iron sharpens Iron. #808VSEverybody

  3. Puns Alum August 2, 2019 3:12 pm

    @Hail From The North

    Yep. Its all about hawaii football as a whole. If a school like not only Saint Louis, But Punahou, Kahuku Mililani can stand out on a national level, it helps the whole hawaii out. Look at hawaii football now, its at a national level unlike before with kids excelling at the college and NFL levels putting hawaii on the MAP. Even if Saint Louis does recruit and dominate, it presents a competition level to make other teams do better, wouldnt you feel proud if you played a close game against saint louis knowing you competed against a team who is nationally ranked? Theres pros to all this. People of Hawaii gotta back up hawaii as a whole, getting to that next level by going to a better program is a crime , its to benefit kids to get that extra foot in the door. Nuff said.

  4. notes August 2, 2019 4:01 pm

    LOL what kind of stupid comments are these? “if a school recruits then it raises the bar for other schools to do better???” That’s the PROBLEM.

    This is like saying “I know i raided all the good fighters from your gym, but that just means you guys need to step up and get better even though I got to where I am by stealing all of your talent.”

    What is this victim blaming? LOL you ILH apologists are unreal. I give St Louis props though. You have the best football team money can buy. You better be ranked #1 and win the koa every year

  5. ??? August 2, 2019 4:28 pm

    Agree with notes!
    STL is hated in Hawaii like Bishop Gorman is hated in Vegas because of the mass recruiting. Yes their both #1 in their states but unfair to other teams that can’t recruit.
    Recruiting the best players from around the state. and then saying other schools need to step up is Pathetic!

  6. HailFromDaNorth August 2, 2019 4:32 pm

    St. Louis is a private school. They have to recruit kids. They don’t have a community like where kids go Kahuku, Waipahu and all that so they gotta bring kids from all over the island to run their program. All the private schools have too. But yes it all comes down to the family and kids on where they wanna go. Definitely like to see Hawaii kids at a national level doing good things. That’s the bigger picture.

  7. HailFromDaNorth August 2, 2019 4:35 pm

    I can see places like Mililani going out and recruiting. Looks at all their new “transfers” and their a public school. What can Mililani offer them?? Maybe JPS since they sponsor them. “Sponsors” the new “Transfers”

  8. ItIsWhatItIs August 2, 2019 9:10 pm

    ???? And Notes…..
    So do you dislike/hate Mililani, Kapolei, and Campbell? Because they recruit more than STL does.

  9. Cryhyn August 2, 2019 9:33 pm

    Transfer. Moving from one school to another. Recruit. Gaining monetary stuff like cut tuition and or free education.

  10. notes August 3, 2019 8:39 am

    mililani, kapolei, and campbell only recruiting because they’re forced to after “coach” cal lee and the ILH destroyed the competitive balance of ILH football. Go after the root cause of the infection not just the symptoms

  11. Pohaku August 3, 2019 9:01 am

    Smelling a mean pot of hate coming out of you @notes.

  12. ItIsWhatItIs August 3, 2019 10:00 am

    So yes or no? Commit to an answer. If your so against recruiting you should be against it no matter who does it! The fact that you put quotations around coach when referring to Coach Cal Lee just shows that its frustration and hate, nothing else. Parents do what they feel is best for their kids and their situation. Good luck to all the teams, players, & coaches this season. Stay safe and ball out

  13. KEEP WINNING!!! August 5, 2019 12:54 pm

    and we’re back…….

    guaranteed like a female’s monthly gift, notes & ??? foul comments come flowing in…

    do me a favor take your driver license or senior citizens card out,
    get in front of a minor,
    yell as loud as you can in the mirror the following sentence,
    “My name is _______ I’m ______yrs old and I will stop shaming myself and my family”

    now we got that out of the way. lets talk big boi stuff or Grown Men S**T.
    @notes & @??? the next time you feel the urge to get up in front of the State, and world on this forum to sing that one-hit tune you are so famously know for think really hard and deep about what you are preaching and trying to accomplish. All that hate and negativity should be praise and congratulations to the young men out there playing their hearts out to one day make it to the NFL.

  14. Destroyer of Opinions August 6, 2019 11:01 pm

    I hope KEEP WINNING!! ain’t that Trump-loving loser Big Dog from

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