No. 1 Saint Louis starts 2019 with a bang

St. Louis linebacker Jordan Botelho (12) was the most physically imposing player on the Crusaders defense in 2019. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Saint Louis is looking primed to go a long way once again after its season-opening 34-6 victory over No. 7 Kapolei on Thursday night at the Hurricanes’ home field.

The Crusaders (1-0, 1-0 ILH Open) have their sights on a fourth straight state Open Division championship and are already flying high.

“It was a great feeling to get back out here and run around with the boys,” said Crusaders linebacker Nick Herbig, a Wisconsin commit who had one of the team’s five sacks. “We were waiting so long to play a real game and were used to only going against each other at practice. Our offense was great tonight. Jayden (de Laura) is the best quarterback in the state. Koali (Nishigaya) is the best slotback in the state and two receivers, Matt Sykes and Roman Wilson (a Michigan recruit), are the best wide receivers. On defense, we’re stacked with studs across the board. We’re hungry and really ready.”

De Laura was super efficient, going 12-for-13 for 247 yards and one TD.

After an intricate pattern and a catch by a wide-open receiver, one reporter said to another, “That play was probably drawn up by Ron Lee at Kaiser 40 years ago.”

Ron Lee, the Saint Louis offensive coordinator, was the Kaiser head coach in 1979 — 40 years ago when the Cougars won the Oahu Prep Bowl 27-7 over Kamehameha.

Receivers go this way and that way and there is deception in the routes, with defenders thinking one thing and Crusaders doing another. It’s how it’s been during the Saint Louis dynastic years under coach Cal Lee with his brother Ron as the OC.

Eight different receivers caught passes, including touchdown grabs by Sykes, a UCLA commit, and Makena Ramos-Kamaka.

Only five of 25 balls thrown by three Crusaders quarterbacks fell incomplete.

Cal Lee was disappointed with the team’s two lost fumbles, the only two turnovers of the game by either team.

“At practice, you’re not really tackling guys like you do in games,” he said. “So you expect mistakes in the first game.”

The last two weeks, Saint Louis was idle while most schools had at least one game and some had two.


  1. ??? August 16, 2019 8:02 am

    STL looks good.
    The only things worse than the score was the announcers reading and annunciations of players names & the ripoff $10 MINI plates.

  2. CRUSADERS FOR LIFE August 16, 2019 8:40 am


    And yah whasssup with the $10 xtra mini plate lol

  3. HI HS FAN August 16, 2019 9:33 am

    Who’ll stop the Crusaders? Lots of experience and depth. However, the achilles heal of past teams was stopping a team that attacked them straight up with a ground-and-pound offense. But once a team falls behind it’s hard to just pound the ball and control the clock and tempo. Defenses need to funnel St. Louis’ passing game to short flats or middle and tackle the receivers immediately. Can’t let them beat you deep and one-on-one.

  4. Kitv August 16, 2019 11:20 am

    Let’s face reality here, Saint Louis will crush every team this year, no one stands a chance against them, it sucks for the players because their stats will always be cut short because they will be done playing by halftime. I see no one standing in the way of the crusaders , not even mills or Kahuku.

  5. Oahu August 16, 2019 11:32 am

    Hats off to Kapolei offense – ZERO interceptiond and ZERO fumbles lost against a defense that has nine starters with Division I offers!
    St Louis is definitely the best team in the state this point in the season. Don’t see any other team on the same level right now.

  6. macadangdang August 16, 2019 1:08 pm

    St Louis is basically a Hawaii all star team. Having 90+ players on their roster from all over the island. They should be in their own division and play the top teams around the country. There is no challenge for them in Hawaii, like @Kitv said the starters are out before half time.

  7. Coach C August 16, 2019 4:06 pm

    Go back to the old ILH. 3 TEAMS. Dissolve the “Open”. It was only used so StL. could have live dummies. They have a college like recruiting, facilities and staff, plus $$$. No other program has this. It does not do anything for Hawaii prep football. Millz is the same but way behind.

  8. Lambert Chee August 19, 2019 7:15 pm

    It is remarkable that St. Louis, with a total enrollment of about 900 (from grades 7 to 12), which averages out to 150 students per grade, can field such a strong team. I was part of the class of 1967, which also won the league championship that year, but our starting quarterback was only 5’7″. He did have Jim Nicholson as a wide receiver, and since he was at least 6’6″ tall, he caught a lot of passes thrown his way!

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