One team is finding its identity, learning new verbiage from a staff led by two of the most Yoda-ish gurus around.
The other is a Division II powerhouse, a testament to quality skills and coaching over sheer size and numbers. Saint Louis and ‘Iolani are about to kick off, and it’s scorching hot down on the field, probably around 90-91 degrees with trades 2-3 mph, if that. Nothing like daytime football at ‘Iolani, literally a stone’s throw from Waikiki.
Saint Louis hung on to win the intermediate game against the Raiders, 34-28. Not sure if that’s an omen of any kind. The heat here is different from other locales around the island, and the 1 p.m. kickoff — the old big mist fans are long gone for both teams — means the heat and humidity will be brutal. Conditioning counts even more than usual in this one.
Crusaders score on the opening drive with Tua Tagovailoa scrambling for yardage, hitting short passes, and then handing the ball to Jahred Silofau for a 20-yard TD run to the right. STL 7, IOL 0, 9:09.
Second possession was a little quicker. On first down, Tagovailoa launches a bomb to Drew Kobayashi for a 67-yard touchdown. STL 14, IOL 0, 7:49.
Third series, another Saint Louis TD. Tagovailoa to Riccardo Sallas II for a 40-yard scoring strike. STL 21, IOL 0, 6:39.
Tagovailoa is master of his universe. A 72-yard bomb to Cash Searle. STL 28, IOL 0, :28.
Raiders on the (new) scoreboard. Well-crafted drive ends with a 15-yard TD pass from Austin Jim On to Keoni-Koredell Makekau. Nice catch, breaks a tackle, dashes in. STL 28, IOL 7, 10:33.
Crusaders score again. Tagovailoa buys time with a mini-scramble and hits Searle in the corner of the end zone for a 6-yard TD toss. STL 35, IOL 7, 7:45.
Crusaders stop an ‘Iolani drive at the 9-yard line, then go up the field 91 yards to score. Tagovailoa is surgical in approach, throws a 21-yard TD pass to Allan Cui. STL 42, IOL 7, 1:00.
Halftime: Saint Louis 42, ‘Iolani 7. The Crusaders have rushed for 147 yards on 17 carries. Tagovailoa is 15-for-16, 354 yards and five touchdowns. Total offense for STL: 511 yards.
Raiders have 197 total yards. Jim on is 14-for-23, 118 yards, one TD, no picks.
‘Iolani showing no quit. An 82-yard drive culminates with a 6-yard burst up the middle for a TD by Storm Lotomau. STL 42, IOL 14, 10:31.
Saints run, run, run and score on Jonathon Manalo’s 6-yard dive. Kick wide left. STL 48, IOL 14, 5:08.
RB Jimmy Gonsalves battles his way over the goal line for a 1-yard TD. STL 55, IOL 14, 11:28.
Storm Lotomau scores on a 4-yard run as STL has plenty of reserves in the game. PAT kick misses. STL 55, IOL 20, 6:42.
FINAL: Saint Louis 55, ‘Iolani 20.