The numbers have evened out in recent years for Punahou in their battles with Saint Louis.
For the past three seasons, Kale Ane’s Buffanblu have beaten the Crusaders at least once, a feat that is matched only by former Kamehameha coach Kanani Souza in the last 21 years.
Ane’s team is focused on the showdown with Saint Louis this Saturday at Aloha Stadium. Punahou (4-0, 1-0 ILH) can grab the lead with a win over the defending state and league champion Crusaders (3-0, 1-0). Ane chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Thursday afternoon about the matchup between No. 1 Saint Louis and No. 4 Punahou.
HPW: What makes this game with Saint Louis different from other games with Saint Louis?
Ane: Every year is new. For us, it’s a new starting quarterback and new receivers. They’ve got a lot of returnees back on offense and defense, though their quarterback is a first-year starter, too. What makes it old is the tradition, the importance of the game. That’s the best way of saying it.
HPW: Saint Louis has had an extra week to gear up for Punahou. Punahou didn’t have a bye, traveled on the road recently, had a big win over Serra (Calif.), has played well and is in rhythm. Which is a better situation?
Ane: I think whatever you’re involved with, you make the best of it. Hopefully, we’ve got the mojo going. Every coach would spin it the way you want to. In the ILH, we’re all desperately looking for games, and you have to take it when you can.
HPW: What are your biggest concerns about Saint Louis’ offense and defense?
Ane: They’re a multiple offense, their line is very big and mobile, which gives their quarterback (Chevan Cordeiro) a lot of time. He’s not just a great thrower, but great runner. They’ve got four quality receivers. The running backs are solid and physical. Defensively, they’ve got a tremendous player (junior defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele), the highest-recruited player in Hawaii, and other guys up front who are dominating as well. Their linebackers are fast physical. The DBs are get-after-you kind of guys. Their defense is talented, comfortable with their schemes and they do it very well. Special teams, they get the ball in the end zone, get after it. There’s a lot of worries coming into this game. It’ll be a great challenge to play a talented team.
HPW: Are you surprised that most teams haven’t been able to contain the scrambling of your quarterback, Stephen Barber?
Ane: He runs well and that makes his passing more dangerous. We want him to run out of bounds and not take the hits. He’s getting more and more comfortable being a drop-back quarterback. In the pros, the trend is you don’t have a lot of drop-back quarterbacks; Matty Ice (Ryan) might be the only one.
HPW: It looks like Barber is getting more chemistry with his receivers.
Ane: Our wide receivers get better every week. They’re playing good teams and they’ve progressed. It all starts with the line. They do their job and the running game and passing game are that much better.
HPW: How has your offensive line approached this game?
Ane: I’m an O-lineman, so we don’t get excited. Maybe closer to the game we will. Right now, we’re just looking for shade on the field.