Q&A: Saint Louis coach Cal Lee on national powerhouse Bishop Gorman

Cal Lee's Saint Louis Crusaders put their 28-game winning streak on the line tonight against Bishop Gorman (Nev.) in the Aloha Football Classic. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Even legendary coach Cal Lee can’t deny the adrenaline rush of a game like this.

When Saint Louis clashes with national powerhouse Bishop Gorman (Nev.) on tonight, fans will get the opportunity long awaited. Saint Louis (3-0), the three-time state champions, will face a program that has won three unofficial national titles (2014-16). Last year, there was talk of a postseason game against a national or regional power, but that didn’t materialize.


Lee chatted about this matchup of the Aloha Football Classic, one of two games on Friday. The other pits Liberty (Nev.) at Mililani.

HPW: Watching Bishop Gorman on video, it looks like they’re completely geared for covering offenses that spread the field and throw the ball.

Cal Lee: They got some players that can run around. They run to the ball so good. Defensively they do a good job. I thought it was a good test for Orem, but BG just overpowered them. The QB is outstanding probably the best quarterback we’re going to see right now.

HPW: What did you see on tape?

Cal Lee: I’ll tell you what. I like their quarterback, I like their receivers, their O-line did a good job. It’s a real test for us. (Coach Kenny Sanchez) has done a great job over the years. I look at what they’re doing. I’m impressed with what they’re doing. They can run the ball, they’ve got speed. That QB can run.

HPW: Coach Sanchez said that the game, playing your team in Aloha Stadium, that’s what is fun to him. They arrive on Wednesday, and the beach and other activities will wait until Saturday.

Cal Lee: It’s all business, you take care of business then you relax and have some fun. I really respect him and what he’s done, what the school represents. They’re a good football team, no question about it. They’ll give us a real good test. That’s what you want, to see how good you really are. We’re both looking forward to it.

HPW: He also said that their players are a little extra motivated because all the rankings have Saint Louis ahead of Bishop Gorman. So they use that as fuel.

Cal Lee: I don’t think much about it. The real rankings come at the end of the season. That’s when it counts.

HPW: How are the Crusaders health-wise?

Cal Lee: We’ve got some guys banged up, so we’ll see. The next guy has to step up.

HPW: Are you surprised by any team that uses rankings and polls to get extra hungry?

Cal Lee: I think everybody’s a little bit more pumped up, the rep Gorman has, a good football team, there’s no question, no doubt about how good they are. The test is what you really want. We don’t even look at the rankings. Who knows about rankings? We don’t keep track. We’re playing a good team, that’s the bottom line. Everybody knows Bishop Gorman. There’s a lot of tradition and they’re a good football team. We’ve just got to go out there and find out.

HPW: The day of their first game last week against Orem (a 40-7 Bishop Gorman win), they unveiled these shiny, new chrome helmets. Very sharp.

Cal Lee: It’s not like they only have one helmet. They’ve got about five different helmets. Great facilities. Outstanding. Like college. No question, better than Hawaii. They can run the 40-yard dash in the weight room. When I was at UH, I used to recruit there. They have everything. The medical, the whirlpool. Outstanding. Anything you can think of, it’s as good as or better than some of the colleges.

HPW: Could you imagine someday living there and coaching at a school there? Or would life in Las Vegas be more about getting away from football?

Cal Lee: I like Las Vegas, no question about that. But it’s very relaxing. Your mind is completely relaxed. It’s about having fun. Great place to visit, enjoy.


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