After finishing his high school career in the first game of the JPS Senior Bowl Football Classic doubleheader Saturday night, Nanakuli’s Sedric Crawford gave his performance and the team’s victory a thumb’s up.
“I think this was one of my best games,” Crawford said after throwing for 206 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 36 yards and another TD for Freedom in a 23-21 victory over Liberty at Aloha Stadium. “I could depend on my receivers and the line was good. It was an intense game. I was ready for this game. The whole week, working hard, and the coaches were telling me to trust my receivers. That’s what I did. I put up the ball and they caught ’em.”
Crawford 31-yard touchdown pass to Waipahu’s Solofa Setu gave Freedom a 23-14 lead with 1:29 left in the third quarter.
Liberty closed to within 23-21 with less than a minute left and tried an onside kick, but the comeback fell short.
Crawford wants to join a military branch and is thinking of the Marine Corps.
“When I was running and they tried to stop me, I fought for the extra yards,” he added. “It was my last high school game and I wanted to go all out. It was fun getting to know everyone. I got close with and bonded with all the receivers.”
Crawford helped the Golden Hawks go 5-5 this year and 4-4 in OIA Division II play after a 1-17 record his previous two seasons. He threw for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns and also rushed for 598 yards and eight scores.
Two other players were among those who a big hand in the Freedom victory — Kaimuki’s Tasi Komiti and Waialua’s Storm Quilenderino.
Komiti blocked a punt in which the ball went out the back of the Liberty end zone for a safety. That turned a 7-6 deficit into an 8-7 lead. Freedom never trailed after that.
“I practice every day on how to block a punt,” Komiti said. “At first I thought I was going to miss the block, but it all came true. All glory to God. I look at the ball and once it moves, I get off.
“It’s an honor to play with each one of these boys from different schools. It was a blessing to play in this.”
Komiti said he made friends with many teammates and got especially tight with Waipahu’s Andrew Saole and Kaiser’s Connor Chun, Hunter Yamada and Aisea Toetu’u.
He also gave some props to his coach with the OIA D-II champion Bulldogs — David Tautofi.
“He’s the best coach,” Komiti said. “I wish I could play for him one more time.”
Quilenderino rushed five times for 46 yards and caught three passes for 37 more. Most of it came in the second half.
When the MVP award was about to be given out, the announcer started by saying, “No. 24 … .”
Quilenderino, who wore No. 24, got some pats on his shoulder from Freedom teammates, but the award actually went to No. 24 on the losing Liberty team — Waianae’s Nainoa Machado —— who caught eight passes for 88 yards and three TDs.