Forget for a minute that I only considered the other two ILH Division I teams for my No. 1 ranking last week, but I went as far as to place Waianae ahead of Kamehameha.
Even as Saint Louis held a 17-10 third-quarter lead against Kamehameha on Friday night at Aloha Stadium, I was already coming up with a way to justify moving the Warriors up on my ballot despite a potential loss.
The Kamehameha secondary quickly made sure that wouldn’t be a problem.
Senior Gavin Panui took the first interception back 37 yards for a score and had a second pick glance off his hands into the arms of linebacker Chad Souza, who brought it back to the Saint Louis 2-yard line. By the time Josiah Lucas got in on the action with a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown, the game was already in hand.
Kamehameha outscored Saint Louis 28-0 in the fourth quarter, making it likely we’ll have our third different team ranked No. 1 in the first month of the season.
Lucas says it should be the Warriors.
“We were really upset because we believe that we’re No. 1 and we’re the team to beat,” he said after Friday night’s win. “I think we proved that here tonight.”
It felt like the game was already turning into Kamehameha’s favor as its 1-2 running back combo of Brandon Kahookele and Kainoa Simao began to find holes against a tiring Saint Louis defense. Along with quarterback Noah Sua-Godinet, the three combined to pound the ball 40 times against the Crusaders defense for 184 yards.
This is how Kamehameha is going to do it if the Warriors are to win their first state championship since 2009. It’s going to dominate the line of scrimmage, beat you down with its power run game, and let Sua-Godinet roll outside of the pocket and make plays either with his legs or his arm.
Saint Louis hung 55 on Baldwin in Week 1 and then dropped another 45 on Kahuku the following week. Against Kamehameha, they were two long pass plays from quarterback Ryder Kuhns to receiver Drew Kobayashi away from being held to a field goal.
Even kicker Tyler Fitzsimmons came up with a big play, hitting a game-tying 44-yard field goal in the third quarter.
These Warriors were the overlooked team among the three ILH Division I squads coming into the season. After Friday night’s win over Saint Louis, they now just might very well be the best of the bunch.