Here we go. It’s 9:19 p.m. after a long D-II playoff game between Damien and Pac-Five, which Damien won 42-28.
Weather is clear and just a bit breezy on the field. Hurricane Ana is nearing, but weather has held up nicely tonight. Winner moves on to face defending ILH champ Punahou next week. Loser is pau for the season. Saint Louis won the regular-season matchup with Kamehameha 44-38. Nothing would surprise me tonight. Not a low-scoring game. Not a game in the 60s.
>> The Crusaders break the ice, scoring on their second series. They use an unusually high number of draw plays effectively, opening up the lanes downfield for Tua Tagovailoa. He completes five passes in the 83-yard march before Jonathon Manalo scores on a 3-yard run. The PAT misses. STL 6, KS 0, 4:41.
Kamehameha drives 80 yards in five plays, getting a 30-yard completion to Kaulana Werner on a tipped ball along the way. Dylan Kane outjumps a defender in the left corner of the end zone for an 11-yard TD catch. KS 7, STL 6, 2:49.
Saint Louis goes 80 yards in 10 plays, scoring on an easy 13-yard scramble by Tagovailoa as the left side emptied out. STL 13, KS 7, 11:14.
Both offenses are taking every opportunity to use their weapons. Kane saw several snaps at WR on the opening series for the Warriors and already has three catches for 33 yards. A Saint Louis defensive lineman just left the game with a left arm injury; they can’t afford to lose anyone up front.
>> Kane just gained 20 yards on a double reverse, but came up with a sore leg again. Very gimpy.
>> Missed 33-yard FGA by Kamehameha. STL ball with 4:56 left in the first half.
>> STL with a nice drive into KS red zone, but another injury. This time, WR Allan Cui, who was blocking for RB Jahred Silofau. Crowd reacted in shock when they saw the replay on the scoreboard. Trainers worked on his knee and he extended it some as he laid on his back He needed help getting off the field, crowd chanting, “Cui! Cui! Cui!”
>> Tagovailoa scores on a 1-yard keeper around the back side on third and goal. PAT is blocked. STL 19, KS 7, :18.
Halftime: Saint Louis 19, Kamehameha 7.
In some ways, a highly efficient and flawless half by the Crusaders. They have 102 rushing yards, nearly 5 yards per carry. Tagovailoa has passed for 162 yards (14-for-16) without a pick. As always, even against a stellar Warriors defense, he is in command. Never forcing a pass, always throwing to his spot, out of reach for defenders almost every time. STL has 264 total yards.
Kamehameha has 160 total yards: nine carries for 53 yards, and Fatu Sua-Godinet is 6-for-10, 107 yards with one TD. STL’s defense has come a long, long way. Limiting KS to 53 rushing yards is a good sign for Crusader fans.
>> The Warriors open the second half with conviction, driving 72 yards in eight plays. Sua-Godinet uses a sweet fake pitch on the option keeper to score from 8 yards out. STL 19, KS 14, 9:21.
>> Chad Farias intercepts a deep post pass by Tagovailoa — only the third of the season by the STL QB. However, the Warriors failed to get points out of it after driing to the STL 27. Sua-Godinet’s fourth-and-3 pass was batted away by defensive lineman Wallen Te‘o.
>> The Crusaders capitalize, driving 73 yards in eight plays. After a time out, Tagovailoa hits Cash Searle for a quick bubble screen for a 6-yard TD play. STL 26, KS 14, 2:26.
>> The Crusaders get sneaky, using a double pass (lateral plus throw) from WR Colton Nascimento to a wide-open Drew Kobayashi for a 54-yard TD. STL 33, KS 14, 8:41.
It was a perfectly timed call. Nascimento is a backup WR and I don’t know if he’s thrown a pass all season. The other thing that’s new (to me) is STL lining up in a spread formation for PATs, kind of like what Farrington does time to time. Busting out new stuff for the playoffs — always fun to watch.
>> Two plays after Sua-Godinet leaves with an injury (after a sneak run for a first down), backup Justice Young eludes the pass rush with a smooth sidestep and connects with Kumoku Noa on an 80-yard TD. Pass attempt on the PAT misses. He tried to roll out and hit Werner, pass too low. STL 33, KS 20, 7:03.
Still enough time to come back, but how will they stop STL’s run?
>> Tagovailoa scores on a 2-yard run, his third TD of the night. STL 40, KS 20, 1:35.
A pick-six ends it. Crusaders march on, 47-20