High noon is work hour for champion Crusaders

Saint Louis made the most of an early afternoon. (May 17, 2017) Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser

The Saint Louis Crusaders are more on a crusade than a cruise.

That’s why, at high noon, peak heat, sunny blue skies and just 24 hours away from the end of the school year, the defending state champions were at work. No pads, no helmets. Just a bunch of skill-position players grinding away on the artificial turf at Clarence T.C. Ching Field at Kalaepohaku. Not the typical 7v7 when some returning all-state defenders are swarming from sideline to sideline.

While other students went home or headed to senior graduation rehearsal, Chevan Cordeiro led the offense against a defense that includes all-state first-team linebackers Dylan Toilolo and Noa Purcell. With the coaching staff, including head coach Cal Lee and longtime quarterbacks coach Vinnie Passas looking on, it was loose, yet regimented. Cordeiro often was sharp, hitting post routes and crossing and out patterns flawlessly.

Still, the defense sparkled. While Cordeiro was precise to his slot receivers and wideouts, hurling a deep touchdown pass, Toilolo and Purcell came up with two of the defense’s three interceptions against the Cordeiro and his backup. Junior Kila Kamakawiwo‘ole Jr., son of the former Kaimuki and UH ‘backer, had the other pick.

Saint Louis junior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro received his first Division I college offer last week. (May 17, 2017) Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser

It was the kind of test that Cordeiro, his backups and the receiving corps needs. It’s a heck of a way to gauge progress, going up against a back seven that was a big part of last year’s upset win over Kahuku for the state title.

Cordeiro looks like a different QB. With the nation’s best prep QB, Tua Tagovailoa, now at Alabama, Cordeiro is no longer the backup. He is also no longer a 160-pound string bean. The 6-foot-1 junior has packed on nearly 20 pounds of muscle through sheer work ethic in the weight room, along with lots of home-cooked meals by mom and grandma. He weighs in at 178 pounds now.

Receiving his first Division I offer, from Hawaii, last week was monumental for a passer who has started a minimum of games. In that sense, UH’s approach isn’t a lot different from what Oregon did some years back, offering a scholarship to then-backup Marcus Mariota.

“We were watching film and then Coach Ron (Lee) and Coach Vinnie told me that Coach Stutz (Craig Stutzmann) was here,” Cordeiro recalled of his first meeting with the former UH wide receiver and current offensive coordinator. “He watched me go over film. He didn’t say anything. He came to practice after that, two weeks later. Spring practice. He asked if I was going to the UH camp.”

Cordeiro told Stutzmann that he is unable to go to the camp. Then came the offer last week.

“I was surprised a little bit. He said, ‘I like the way you throw. You look good out there.’ I appreciate that they believe in me,” Cordeiro said. “They see my reads. They came to my practices. I’ve been working all year for this opportunity.”

Toilolo looks like he’s in mid-season form, and it’s almost unfair the way he and Purcell read plays and jump on the ball. Toilolo came to Saint Louis as a running back before Cal Lee politely poached him to play linebacker. Whatever the situation, he goes full tilt.

“Our coaches always want us to play 100 percent,” said Toilolo, who picked a pass in the flat for what would’ve been a pick-six. “They’re always on us.”

By 12:30 p.m., the informal workout was done. The brotherhood shook hands, players and coaches, in a circle. Not a day, not a hour or minute wasted for the Crusaders.

“We’re just trying to get better,” Passas said.


  1. Mahatma Gandhi May 19, 2017 5:30 am

    St Lulu = win-at-all-costs football program. Just like Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas.

  2. Mahatma Gandhi May 19, 2017 5:43 am

    I remember when the aformentioned longtime St Louis football coach Vince dos Passos was the starting QB for St Louis early 1970s. Starting QB in the first Prep Bowl game held at old Honolulu Stadium in Moiliili. . Apparently he was also on St Louis’ state championship baseball team the same school year. Gotta bury him somewhere on the Kalaepohaku campus for all the good work he has given the school over the years.

  3. Education First May 19, 2017 9:16 am

    Kahuku = win-at-all-costs football program. Just like Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas. Why else would you hire a former coach with was charged with DUI 2 times? Also, it seems that football takes precedence over academics. Just look at their abysmal test scores and their college readiness index.




  4. Mahatma Gandhi May 19, 2017 9:40 am

    Education First, if we totally swtiched the student body from Kahuku to Iollani, the test scores of the 2 schools would then be reversed. So it cannot be an indictment of Kahuku High School.

  5. Knation May 19, 2017 4:06 pm

    Wow! education first hates Kahuku with a passion! Has nothing to do but dig to find ways to make kahuku look bad. He even like to argue with kids and with himself.

  6. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate May 19, 2017 5:39 pm

    eedu first us pun grad

  7. BK May 19, 2017 7:30 pm

    Wow, it’s ok for a HS, to bring in studs for basketball and win a State Championship, just like the Saints in FB, Recruiting is recruiting!!!, no matter ILH, OIA, MiL, KIF, or BIIF, go Maui in baseball.

  8. rrfl May 24, 2017 7:51 am

    wow so much hatred. why??? God bless you and I hope you will find true happiness one day

  9. Education First May 29, 2017 2:57 pm

    Sorry, I stand corrected. Kahuku has stepped up their game! Requires GPA over and above the minimum requirement.


    Principal “gets” it as well.


    PS, I’m not bitter about Kahuku’s gridiron success. Never played the game and always was very envious of the “in” crowd so that might have something to do with it however. But I had other outlets (singing, being a fan, etc) which kept me busy.

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