Kahuku victory would be upset for the ages

Pua Falemalu ran into the end zone for a touchdown in Kahuku's 39-14 win over Saint Louis in the Division I state championship game in 2015. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Kahuku’s football program has produced some of the greatest games in state history, but a win over Saint Louis tonight in the 21st top-tier state championship could produce the biggest upset.

Despite being the OIA champion, Kahuku seems to have everything going against it when Sterling Carvalho leads his charges against Cal Lee‘s dynasty on Friday night.

The Red Raiders are tasked with taking out a Saint Louis team that throttled them 28-0 in just a half before making the long drive home. This is the fourth time in the state-championship era that the top-tier title game is a rematch from the regular season and all three previous teams swept: Punahou over Mililani in 2013, Kahuku over Punahou in 2012 and Saint Louis against ultimate underdog Waianae in 2010. 

If the Red Raiders can beat a Crusaders crew that is built around a senior class that is 42-1 in their careers it could go down as the biggest upset in state championship history. 

Kahuku can become the first top-tier state champion with three losses since Andrew Manley‘s miracle Leilehua Mules dropped unbeaten Saint Louis in 2007. Those Mules were 5-4 before Manley came up from the JV and went on a run capped off with a 20-16 win over a Crusaders team led by Mich Mamiya, Keani Nishigaya and Billy Stutzman.

That Saint Louis team was probably even more of a juggernaut than this one, allowing only Punahou and Kamehameha to finish within a touchdown of them and scoring more than 50 points twice. 

Only two Prep Bowl champions had three or more losses, with 9-3 Saint Louis upsetting unbeaten Kahuku in 1993 and Don Botelho‘s magical 1985 Pac-Five team (7-3) that took out perennial OIA power Waianae (9-3), but that hardly qualifies as an upset after a season of unmatched parity.

The biggest upset in Prep Bowl was not technically an upset at all since it had two winners and no loser. Eddie Hamada‘s 1980 ‘Iolani team shared the title with unbeaten and largely unchallenged Waianae after a thrilling 7-7 tie. 

Kahuku doesn’t have to worry about a tie with Saint Louis this time, unless the lights go out at Aloha Stadium at the wrong time.

Kahuku can take heart in the fact that 10 teams have walked into the building for a Prep Bowl or State Championship and walked away with its first and only loss of the season. It has happened to the Red Raiders (2009, 1998, 1994) and Crusaders (2007, 2006, 2000) three times each with 2014 Punahou, 1988 Waianae and 1976 Radford the others.



  1. Good Story November 29, 2019 9:42 am


  2. to good times November 29, 2019 11:03 am

    I mean no disrespect to anyone. Anything can happen on any given night. But the article seems to just be hype for the underdog. Anyway, to both teams….it should be a hard hitting game. Stay safe.

  3. Busta November 29, 2019 11:51 am

    Best of luck to two of the greatest football programs in hawaii high school history and I dont care what anybody says they are THE BEST hands down! GO CRUSADERS! GO BIG RED!

  4. Truth be told November 29, 2019 1:16 pm

    They are the best , but Kahuku can’t compare with Saint Louis . Different image , different styles, kahuku gots lots more to accomplish in order to be standing next to the crusaders.

  5. RedRooted November 29, 2019 2:17 pm

    The Truth is…Kahuku is a Community based team ..Players from within their own district…
    If you eliminate the players not from the St.Louis district, Kahuku would be playing someone else…That’s the Truth..
    And the Truth Hurts…

  6. Hau’ulaBoy November 29, 2019 2:27 pm

    Let’s go boys!!!!

  7. Ilh November 29, 2019 2:51 pm

    Saint Louis is a Private School, so there is no Community involved, players come from all over, rip’em Crusaders, 54 -7

  8. Real truth November 29, 2019 2:51 pm

    Truth here we go, community based players lol I’m rolling laughing , 25 mile stretch for a district yeah that’s a long stretch. What about the kids transferring from Utah and the poly islands with 19 year old birth certificates? Cmon red raiders stop trying to find excuses , your the only school that cry’s lol. Mililani loses and doesn’t complain like you guys do, York finds ways to better the program , he joins the system instead bring cry babies like the rooted red raiders lol peace

  9. Trustno1 November 29, 2019 3:21 pm

    C’mon RedRooted! Enough already. Been there, done that…ILH got you and whoever else says St. Louis needs to get players from their district! Making excuses already for the Big Red if they lose. Good luck to both teams! 808vsEverybody!

  10. Lou November 29, 2019 3:26 pm

    Lol#8, 19 year olds. St.lulu probably got more Samoans now the Kahuku. Lol. U funny.

  11. RedRooted November 29, 2019 4:11 pm

    Like I said “The Truth Hurts”…Just stating the Facts..
    Names and Addresses please…
    And Mililani doesn’t complain because they Recruit too…Ask anyone who’s not blind…All of the OIA coaches know they do it…They do it because it allows them to compete against the Red Raiders and The Private Schools…Before York ,they would Always come up short..Just stating the” Truth…”

  12. Truth November 29, 2019 5:14 pm

    Kahuku no more than 50 yards total offense 42-7 with cal being a nice guy

  13. 88 November 29, 2019 6:52 pm

    I’m a RR4Life but you have to call it like it is. The only way our RedRaiders win this thing is if Coach Lee & Gang either never prepare properly for this game or the team just has a total melt down. I don’t see either happening… Good luck to both teams.

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