It was a runaway, not a run-up

Saint Louis linemen warm up before a game with Pac-Five. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)
Saint Louis linemen warm up before a game with Pac-Five. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

For fans who weren’t at Aloha Stadium on Friday when No. 3 Saint Louis defeated Pac-Five 73-6, it may seem like some piling on was going on.

For me, a neutral observer, it wasn’t a run-up-the-score scenario. It was simply a matter of an extremely talented, senior-heavy, numbers-deep team facing a relatively inexperienced team with low numbers. Here’s what I think.

1. Saint Louis began to use reserves in the second quarter and continued to do this to the end.

2. A running clock was activated in the second half and stopped, as stipulated by rule, only for official time outs (usually penalties).

3. The Crusaders kept their no-huddle offense going, but often ran the ball. All three touchdowns in the the second half came on rushes. They finished with 20 pass attempts and 17 rushes. Adam Noga had 150 yards on five carries.

The only semblance of a question is this: Should any team forsake its offensive and defensive blueprints when a game gets lopsided? Offensively, I think any coach would be wise to train second- and third-string players to play with the first string when that situation arises. Saint Louis can huddle instead of no-huddling, but how does that help their reserves prepare for the future?

Saint Louis’ no-huddle offense is not a a hurry-up offense like Oregon (or the Philadelphia Eagles). I don’t know if Pac-Five’s substitution patterns were altered by this, but remember, they don’t have a deep bench.

Defensively, a lot can be adjusted. Saint Louis didn’t go vanilla. They still blitzed at times, but remember that Pac-Five throws the ball on most downs. That stopped the clock on every incompletion in the first half. Second half, time just kept ticking on no matter what. Anthony Canencia threw 35 passes and was sacked numerous times, which figured into his team’s 22 rushing attempts.

Overall, I don’t enjoy lopsided matchups. This year, the ILH is talent heavy, senior heavy compared to other leagues. Compared to D-II teams in its own league. The BIIF had separate schedules for its D-I and D-II teams for years, but went back to a blended schedule this season. MIL has played a blended schedule for a long time.

In the ILH? I’m not sure it’s worthwhile anymore since Pac-Five has lost players (five starters and more) to St. Francis, which began playing varsity ball this season. In a separate format, ‘Iolani — a D-II team that holds its own against D-I programs — could still schedule the Big 3 (Kamehameha, Punahou, Saint Louis) in preseason or bye weeks.

(Note: The ILH will require a back-to-back D-II champion to move up to D-I for at least one year. That new rule was enacted this academic year.)

When D-II plays D-I in the ILH, it’s not a question of heart. It’s pure, simple numbers. Size differences. Depth. Injuries. Depleted rosters.

I’ve expressed some concern about a tiny program like St. Francis having to face each of the Big 3 this fall on the football field. The ILH has been progressive about similar issues in the past. They had Division II and III classifications for many sports going back as far as I can remember. (That would be the 1970s, when I was a kid.)

We’ll see.


  1. JD Allen September 11, 2013 1:46 am

    If Iolani didn’t play the Big Three in league play they’d never schedule them in non-league games. That’s because Coach Look is a coward.

  2. JD Allen September 11, 2013 1:56 am

    P.S. I wouldn’t put it past Coach Look to do this: have Iolani lose games it can easily win (with Jordan Ross, whose family isn’t paying a dime for him to attend Iolani, coming back two more years), thereby letting another D-2 win that part of the ILH in 2014. Good luck with that Iolani, and enjoy having karma catch up with you in 2015 and 2016 as a D-1 team. It isn’t like you are too small to play PUN, KS, and SL anyway. There are 15-20 kids over 200 lbs and 60-70 players. You ain’t a D-2 with those numbers like Pac-Five, Damien, and St. Francis are (those teams have only got about 30-50 players).

  3. bandits1 September 11, 2013 10:53 am

    Is the ILH requiring a back-to-back D2 ILH champion or STATE champion to move up to D-I? ILH champion makes more sense.

  4. sportsguy September 11, 2013 11:23 am

    It was not necessary for St. Louis to run no huddle the entire game. That is no class and even the other St. Louis coaches and parents know that they ran up the score and were embarrassed by what they did against Pac 5. The reserves could get just as much practice practicing against themselves because they probably have more talent than Pac 5. Also it is not necessary to blitz when you are up by that much against a much inferior team like Pac 5. St. Louis showed no class in a 73-6 win. Also like JD Allen said Iolani has the numbers and talent to play D1. Look at the years past they were always able to compete and even beat the 3 D1 powers but they rather stay down and win those D2 Championships. And with that in mind Pac 5 will always have more D1 Championships than Iolani and even Punahou since they won 2 prep bowls (1982 and 1985).

  5. sue mason September 11, 2013 3:49 pm

    It was only a few years back that Iolani had all of 6 players over 200 and a roster size of 43. Ever since they started winning State Championships has the intermediate and varsity programs taken off where the rosters have swelled to 60-70 players and kids over 200 numbering in the teens instead of single digits. That is the price of success, so dont fault Iolani for its success these past years.The other D2 teams need to step up their programs and then we should see parity among the D2 teams in the ILH.

  6. JD Allen September 12, 2013 2:16 am

    Check the roster Sue, or are you Wendell Look’s wife? They had 60-70 players from 2009 till now. The 2008 team probably had 50-60 guys. Iolani is recruiting. The D2 teams can’t compete against their cheating.

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