Ron Lee has seen his share of productive playmakers during his many years of coaching high school football.
But even with a 69-point output by his offense last week against Waianae, Saint Louis’ offensive coordinator has guarded optimism when the No. 1 Crusaders (1-0) meet Narbonne (Calif.) (0-0) tonight at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. following the conclusion of an exhibition game between Saint Louis junior varsity and Metro Tigers 14-Under.
Last year, Saint Louis rallied for a mind-blowing 56-50 victory over Narbonne at the stadium. It was a breakout game for first-year starters Chevan Cordeiro at quarterback and Mitchell Quinn at wide receiver.
Coach Lee chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Friday morning.
HPW: Will there be another 106 points scored in this rematch?
Ron Lee: No. No. I don’t think it’ll be even close to that number. Last year was the first time we played each other. We didn’t have a lot as far as scouting report. They didn’t have much and we didn’t have much, so that gives the offense somewhat of an advantage. Our defense is a lot better. We have our tape from last year so that makes a big difference. I’m sure they’re running the same stuff, same sets and alignments. They have tape on us and they might be even better on defense as far as athletes, so this is going to be tough.
We have a lot of young guys, too. Last year, we had a couple games before we played them This year, we had only Waianae. Narbonne is very successful, and they send a lot of people to Division I colleges, so that tells you how good they are. It’ll be a good game, a challenge for our young guys, especially on offense.
HPW: The Gauchos lost some key guys. Their quarterback (Jalen Chatman) is at Rutgers. Their running back (Jermar Jefferson) is at Oregon State. Your team has guys like DT Faatui Tuitele and LB Jordan Botelho a year older and faster and stronger.
RL: It’s not just one. There’s a lot of athletes. Last year, their defensive front was really strong. It’s the kind of game you need as you go through the season.
HPW: One game for Jayden de Laura and he played like a veteran most of the time. What grade would you give him for last week?
RL: He did great, I thought, for his first game. He hasn’t played a JV or varsity game until last week. The last time he played was in intermediate, so overall, 9-for-12, one drop. Nice job making reads, showing a lot of poise. I would grade him as high B+. He was really accurate on the deep throws, but I wouldn’t grade him any higher than that. We’ll see tonight against, really, the kind of athletes they have.
HPW: On back-to-back plays, he took a sack, and also ran from the left hashmark to the right sideline, and back. You don’t really want him developing that as a habit, I’m guessing.
RL: We don’t want our QBs running. Chev ran a lot because we were running empty and some teams didn’t have a spy, it just kind of depends. But if you keep so many guys in the box, it’s tough to run. Jayden can run. He’s got the speed, probably a little more physical than Chev, and he looks downfield when he runs. He’s got those traits. We’ll get a better read, not just on Jayden, but on our receivers, Roman Wilson and those guys, young guys who don’t have experience in big games. This will get us ready for Kahuku, Punahou. I don’t know how good we are yet, but I’m anxious to find out how tough we are mentally.