Crusaders wary of being the team to beat

Saint Louis' Devan Stubblefield cut downfield on a kick return during the second half of a win over Kahuku. Photo by Jamm Aquino.
Saint Louis’ Devan Stubblefield cut downfield on a kick return during the second half of a win over Kahuku.

(Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser)

When Saint Louis slapped Kahuku around in the fourth quarter of a showdown two weeks ago, Crusaders coach Matt Wright wasn’t a big fan of what it meant for his program. It was a good start, but there was so much more to work on.

Sure, every team wants to be No. 1 at the end of the year. But taking the top spot early in August just gives opponents an extra incentive to knock a team off its perch.


“For me, personally, I’d like the ranking to be a three or a four,” Wright told the Star-Advertiser’s Dave Reardon after the win over the Red Raiders.

No worries, Coach. The crown isn’t as heavy as it seems. The top-ranked team in August was undefeated in the last five years before Kahuku’s loss, and the eventual state champion has held the top spot in the first month every year since 2009, when Kamehameha debuted at No. 6 but didn’t reach the pinnacle until November. The Star-Advertiser’s Paul Honda begins any conversation about polls by pointing out that a list of who coaches and media believe are the best teams is nothing more than a conversation starter. But the pollsters seem to have some idea of what will happen.

Or at least they are right more often than they are wrong. Since 2008:

  • No. 1 vs. another top-10 team: 17-5
  • No. 1 vs. another top-5 team: 10-4
  • No. 1 vs. No. 2: 4-2

How No. 1 teams in the Star-Advertiser football poll fared when facing another top-10 team before states in the last five years:

2013

Aug. 17: No. 3 Saint Louis 45, No. 1 Kahuku 24


2012

Aug. 18: No. 1 Kahuku 21, No. 2 Punahou 13
Sept. 29: No. 1 Kahuku 31, No. 2 Farrington 6
Oct. 26: No. 1 Kahuku 14, No. 6 Leilehua 7
Nov. 2: No. 1 Kahuku 50, No. 3 Mililani 13

2011

Aug. 20: No. 1 Kahuku 13, No. 8 Kamehameha 3
Oct. 1: No. 2 Farrington 14, No. 1 Kahuku 13
Oct. 28: No. 1 Farrington 27, No. 5 Campbell 24
Nov. 4: No. 2 Kahuku 23, No. 1 Farrington 0

2010

Aug. 27: No. 1 Kahuku 49, No. 2 Saint Louis 27
Oct. 1: No. 1 Kahuku 16, No. 8 Farrington 0
Oct. 8: No. 1 Kahuku 52, No. 10 Castle 23
Oct. 29: No. 1 Kahuku 46, No. 4 Leilehua 16

2009

Aug. 14: No. 1 Saint Louis 48, No. 10 Waianae 35
Aug. 29: No. 1 Saint Louis 28, @ No. 8 Leilehua 21
Sept. 18: No. 9 Punahou 23, No. 1 Saint Louis 21
Oct. 2: No. 1 Kahuku 16, No. 4 Farrington 14
Oct. 23: No. 1 Kahuku 35, No. 9 Mililani 27


2008

Aug. 29: No. 1 Punahou 41, No. 8 Castle 14
Sept: 13: No. 3 Saint Louis 40, No. 1 Punahou 19
Sept. 19: No. 1 Saint Louis 28, No. 3 Kamehameha 20
Nov. 14: No. 1 Punahou 41, No. 2 Saint Louis 28

Saint Louis will get its first chance at defending No. 1 on Friday when it meets No. 4 Kamehameha in the ILH opener for both teams at Aloha Stadium.

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