Jayden de Laura returns to stomping grounds for Crusaders clinic at Ali’iolani

Quarterback Jayden de Laura drew up a play for Ace Ige. Dennis Oda / Star-Advertiser

Their last day together wearing the navy blue and red was filled with the laughter and excitement of children.

This was the kind of day Jayden de Laura won’t forget. He and his Saint Louis football teammates put on the home jerseys for a clinic at nearby Ali’iolani Elementary School, which de Laura attended, on a sunny, rainy and windy Friday morning.

Among the keiki who ran routes and caught passes from the Washington State signee was younger brother Jayxen, a third grader.

“Jayden’s little brother, he’s going to be a baller,” Crusaders All-State slotback Koali Nishigaya said.

Jayden wasn’t surprised about his brother’s ability. Jayxen has run plenty of routes for big brother.

“I do it every day at home. It makes him feel good. He runs pretty good routes, but I don’t know about his hands,” de Laura said. “His hands are questionable.”

Jayxen plans to emulate his brother.

“I’m going to play quarterback,” the southpaw said.

A fourth grader with plenty of talent is Tana Seguancia.

“It was fun. I liked sevens (scrimmaging) and catching the ball,” he said, referring to Tuesday and Thursday morning football at the school field before class starts. “Jayden can throw it farther.”

The event is the second clinic hosted by the school in conjunction with Liahona Youth Empowerment. Last year, the Crusaders had then-seniors like Faatui Tuitele at the first clinic. Once again, Ali’iolani students embraced the workout, running at full speed under the watchful eyes of the four-time defending state champions.

“Blessed! Both the boys from Kalaepohaku and Aliiolani benefited big time. It’s about serving our community in the spirit of aloha,” said Liahona’s Nate Dudoit, a Saint Louis alum.

In all, 23 Crusaders participated in the clinic. They had lunch in the cafeteria before heading back to campus. Among the missing was wide receiver Matt Sykes, who was busy completing his final day of class before departing for UCLA.

Many of the players who were able to attend are underclassmen. They included junior defensive lineman Anthony Sagapolutele. The younger Crusaders are glad longtime coach Cal Lee is staying in his role as defensive coordinator while relinquishing head-coaching duties to brother and offensive coordinator Ron Lee.

“He could have (retired). Just having him as our DC for one more year is a blessing. Having him for all these years is a great blessing,” Sagapolutele said.


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