The Crusaders can really mess things up with a win of their own.
Assuming neither team slips up in its final regular-season game against Division II teams, Friday night’s tilt will determine how the ILH Division I playoff bracket will look.
For Punahou (6-0, 4-0), the two-time defending ILH champion, it’s simple: Win, and you’re at home resting in two weeks.
If Saint Louis (5-1, 3-1) wins, the dreaded three-team tie comes into play, as the Buffanblu, Crusaders and No. 2 Kamehameha would each have one loss.
The ILH recently announced that under that scenario, the tiebreaker would be determined by a random card draw.
Yes, a card draw.
Not many people are happy with the ILH’s decision to play a regular season in which every ILH team plays each other once. Because of it, the three Division I teams basically get to play two meaningful games in a span of seven weeks, while the rest of the time is spent debating whether to put second- and third-string players in the game either before or after halftime.
Saint Louis quarterback Ryder Kuhns, who leads the league with 811 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, hasn’t played a full game since August. The Crusaders went 3-0 in September, winning by a combined score of 163-26.
In the 12 seasons prior to this year since classification, Division I teams played each other twice in the regular season and occasionally three times when a playoff was needed to determine the ILH champion.
Saint Louis owns a 19-10 record in the series during the state championship era (since 1999). From 1995-2004, the Crusaders won 19 straight in the series overall.
The Buffanblu have bucked that trend in recent years, winning four straight and seven of the last nine in the series.
Only one of the last 10 meetings has been decided by less than 12 points. Quarterback Kaiana Eldredge, who currently plays baseball at Kansas, threw touchdown passes of 80 yards to Forrest Kim and 45 yards to current Boise State safety Jeremy Ioane in a 23-21 win in 2009.
Other notable moments during the Saint Louis-Punahou rivalry:
Nov. 12, 2008: Cayman Shutter sets a career high with 312 passing yards in a 41-28 win to give the Buffanblu their first ILH title in three years. It’s the first of a three-game stretch in which Shutter throws for 1,124 yards to lead Punahou to its first state championship in football.
Oct. 12, 2007: Micah Mamiya‘s 42-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Gonsalves in the second quarter turns out to be the only score of the game as the Crusaders win 7-0. Punahou’s top three rushers in the game were Dalton Hilliard, Manti Te’o and Kimo Makaula. Hilliard wound up at UCLA, Te’o went to Notre Dame and Makaula went to Washington for college.
2005: After losing 19 straight games to Saint Louis, Punahou beats the Crusaders three times, including 14-0 in an ILH playoff to advance to the state tournament. The game was played with only eight-minute quarters as the Crusaders played five days earlier in a playoff against Kamehameha after all three teams finished the regular season tied for first.
Sept. 19, 1998: Timmy Chang throws for 240 yards, Noah Campbell rushes for 110 yards and Gerald Welch has 107 yards receiving in a 62-20 win. It’s the most points Punahou has given up in a game in the last 40 years.
Oct. 12, 1996: Jason Gesser throws for a career-high 373 yards in a 42-21 win.
Sept. 30, 1995: Afatia Thompson rushed for 108 yards as the Buffanblu hand the Crusaders their only loss of the season in a 21-13 victory, ending Saint Louis’ 22-game winning streak. Saint Louis wins the next two meetings that season, including a 14-7 win in a playoff to determine who advances to the Prep Bowl.
Oct. 29, 1994: George Ornellas pulls off the only 100-yard rushing and receiving game of his career when he finishes with 121 yards on the ground and 152 yards receiving in a 27-20 win.
Oct. 8, 1993: Makaena Puli throws for 238 yards as Punahou ends Saint Louis’ 25-game winning streak with a 21-7 victory.
Sept. 7, 1990: Punahou becomes the first team from Hawaii to beat Saint Louis in five years, snapping the Crusaders’ 53-game winning streak against local teams with a 19-14 victory.
Nov. 5, 1977: Paul Goo throws for 266 yards and Russell Valente rushes for 116 yards as the Crusaders hand the Buffanblu their only ILH loss in a 26-14 win.
Nov. 17, 1973: Current Crusaders quarterbacks coach Vince Passas throws for 97 yards and Ed Kini runs for 67 yards as Saint Louis survives Mosi Tatupu‘s 162-yard rushing performance to beat the Buffanblu 21-20 in an ILH playoff to advance to the first-ever Prep Bowl.