Saint Louis did a whole lot right in a commanding victory to open its ILH schedule Friday night.
Walking toward Aloha Stadium’s north tunnel, Cal Lee’s initial thoughts gravitated to areas of improvement following the Crusaders’ 49-7 win over ‘Iolani at Aloha Stadium.
“I’ve gotta look at the film and everything but I can still see a lot of dropped passes, fumbles, all of that kind of stuff,” Lee said.
Lee’s focus on honing the Crusaders’ execution is in keeping with his approach for much of his storied coaching career. It’ll no doubt be an emphasis in the week leading up to No. 2 Saint Louis’ first showdown with No. 3 Punahou of the season.
Both teams are 2-0 overall and 1-0 in ILH play entering their Friday meeting at Aloha Stadium for the early edge in the race for the league’s Division I title.
The schedule gives Punahou an extra day to prepare after opening the ILH season with a 56-14 rout of Kamehameha on Thursday. Saint Louis followed with a dominant performance on Friday ignited by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
In his first appearance at Aloha Stadium since last year’s loss to Kahuku in the state championship game, Tagovailoa completed 17 of 26 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a game-high 77 yards and a score — all in less than a half of playing time.
Tagovailoa distributed his completions among nine receivers and led Saint Louis to touchdowns on six of the seven drives he spent behind center. The Crusaders needed six plays or fewer to score on each of their first four possessions. An interception by Rick Sandry late in the first quarter set up another scoring opportunity but a fumble lost just short of the goal line broke the scoring streak.
Tagovailoa ended the next drive with a 19-yard touchdown run and called it a night with 5:41 left in the second quarter after Saint Louis took a 42-0 lead on Dylan Silva’s 5-yard touchdown run.
Tagovailoa will head into the game against Punahou six passing yards shy of 6,000 for his career.
The Saint Louis defense held ‘Iolani without a first down through the Raiders’ first five possessions and allowed just four in the first half while limiting the Raiders to 98 total yards.
As Lee alluded to, the Crusaders did put the ball on the ground three times and ‘Iolani recovered two.
“Gotta give credit to the offense, they did a nice job,” Lee said. “But I can still see dropped passes and fumbles. Those things will hurt you. You cant give up the ball like that.”
Through two games, Punahou has outscored its opponents 126-23 while Saint Louis defeated Hilo and ‘Iolani by a combined 98-14 differential.
Although the matchup between the Crusaders and Buffanblu is now less than a week away, Lee bristled at even the notion of having to guard against looking ahead against an ‘Iolani team that arrived at Aloha Stadium at 3-0.
“This is a good football team,” Lee said while walking alongside the Raiders on the way to the team buses. “Why look ahead when we’ve got something right in front of us?”
‘Iolani sophomore defensive back Kyler Mento recovered Saint Louis’ first fumble in the end zone and came up with an interception late in the second quarter after Tagovailoa went to the bench. Running back KJ Pascua scored his seventh touchdown of the season on the first play of the fourth quarter to break up the shutout.