Saint Louis coach Cal Lee was typically understated after the Crusaders turned in a performance of three-pronged dominance Friday night.
“Alright, decent,” was Lee’s summation of No. 1 Saint Louis’ 72-6 rout of Farrington at Skippa Diaz Stadium.
Yes, the state’s winningest coach was pleased with the play of quarterback Jayden de Laura, who completed 13 of 17 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns in less than a half of action. Yet, collectively, “you’re looking for 100 percent. We’re still not there yet.”
Aside from a 95-yard kickoff return by Farrington sophomore Raymond Millare, Friday’s game appeared awfully close to that complete performance Lee and the Crusaders continue to pursue.
Linebacker Nick Herbig ignited the blowout with an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown 75 seconds into the game and the Crusader defense allowed just 4 yards in total offense on the night.
Saint Louis came away with three turnovers, allowed just two first downs and posted seven sacks.
“If we set the tone (on defense) it gets the offense fired (up) and it’ll get us fired up for the next series,” said Saint Louis defensive lineman Faatui Tuitele, who grew up about 5 minutes away at Mayor Wright Homes in Kalihi before moving to nearby Kukui Gardens. “That’s our goal to try to set the tone every game and I think Nick having that pick-six really lit the fire.”
The Crusaders lost a fumble on their opening drive and then reached the end zone on nine of their next 11 possessions. The exceptions came after the defense recovered a fumble with 15 seconds left in the first half and on the game’s final drive as they run out the clock.
De Laura completed touchdown passes to Makoa Close and Roman Wilson, running backs Robbie Paikai and Dayton Sam both rushed for two touchdowns, and backup quarterbacks Connor Apo and Alexander Bianco capped the Crusaders’ highest scoring performance since a 73-6 win over Pac-Five on Sept. 6, 2013.
Saint Louis QB Jayden de Laura went 13-for-17 for 254 yards in the Crusaders' win at Farrington. He started the night with a 37-yard laser to Makoa Close, who finished with four catches for 101 yards. @HawaiiPrepWorld pic.twitter.com/1l9RO28u8k
— Jason Kaneshiro (@jasonkaneshiro) October 6, 2018
Special teams contributed when Keanu Wallace returned a kickoff 73 yards to set up a 16-yard scoring drive. Mason Tufaga blocked a punt on Farrington’s next possession and Sam scored his first touchdown one play later. On Farrington’s next punt attempt, the snap sailed high and out of the end zone for a safety.
Farrington didn’t cross midfield until midway through the fourth quarter when Samsen Tanuvasa, who led the Governors with 54 rushing yards, took the short snap on a fake punt 27 yards.
After offering words of encouragement to Farrington players following Saint Louis’ 22nd consecutive win, Lee was a bit more open about the Crusaders’ postseason future.
The Crusaders (7-0, 6-0 ILH Open) had secured the top seed in the upcoming ILH Open division playoffs. They close the regular season on Oct. 12 against Kamehameha at Aloha Stadium and will have a bye while Kamehameha and Punahou meet in the first round of playoffs. The winner advances to face Saint Louis in the division title game on Oct. 27 with a state tournament berth at stake.
“To me that’s not fair. You win the championship and the only thing you got is a bye,” Lee said. “That’s our league.”
The outcome against an ILH opponent didn’t impact Farrington’s postseason hopes and the Governors remain at 1-3 in the OIA Open division going into their regular-season finale against Kahuku.
The Governors played without senior quarterback Chris Afe, who suffered an injury in a “freak accident” in PE class earlier in the day, according to Farrington coach Daniel Sanchez, who said he got word of the injury around noon. Freshman Richard Tagataese played the entire game behind center.
Millare, a sophomore, provided the Governors’ highlight with his kickoff return in the second quarter.
“Raymond, I think if he keeps continuing to work he’s going to be something special,” Sanchez said. “We have a lot of sophomores right now. (Tagataese) is a freshman and I think this is great experience for those guys.
“I think what we get out of this is our underclassmen get to see what the No. 1 team in the state is like and you get to set goals for yourself in the offseason and that’s a program I think you would want to model.
“I kept encouraging the guys to keep playing, don’t give up, and telling the underclassmen, ‘remember this, remember how they played because this is where we want to get to.’ ”