Cal Lee was in good spirits after Saint Louis’ 38-2 win over Kamehameha on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
Facing elimination from ILH title contention and state-tourney qualification, Kamehameha was resilient in the trenches. Saint Louis didn’t give up a point, stopping the Warriors in the red zone multiple times. Lee was unusually proud of the defensive teamwork.
“The kids can rest, get rejuvenated, get excited to come back and play in the state tournament. That’s a goal you shoot for,” Lee said of his defending state champions. “I don’t what’s going to happen in the next two weeks, but we had great practices. They practiced really hard and it showed tonight. You work toward winning the ILH championship and the gift is the state tournament. It’s a credit to their hard work and they deserve everything they get from this point on.”
The only glaring issue?
“Penalties. Talk to me about it. We’ve got to cut the penalties, stupid penalties,” Lee said. “I can’t wait to, not punish, but make the corrections. We’re not here to make penalties.”
The secondary of Saint Louis kept a lid on Kamehameha’s receiving crew. Safety Isaiah Tufaga came up with a late-game interception on a play-action pass by Thomas Yam.
“The game plan all week was to play man, lock down our receivers and have our front seven pressure the quarterback and force him to make bad decisions,” Tufaga said. “All their momentum came off our penalties. That’s our fault. That’s something we have to fix. Nothing wrong with our coverages, but we were killing ourselves with penalties.”
The Crusaders’ front seven was stellar even as standout defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele played with a wrap on his left arm.
“Guys stepped up. It’s a credit to them when someone is out. Mikey Malepeai, Gino Quinones, Isaiah. Sam Scott, he looks like a halfback, but he’s a defensive lineman,” Lee said.
There is, as Lee often says, work to be done.
“We didn’t play a perfect game, but that’s what we tried to do. We had some holding, but we’ll try to cut that out,” he said. “We’re looking for that perfect game.”