Ron Lee will enjoy a day or so to unwind and refresh.
But when Monday gets here, the longtime offensive coordinator will be ready to get back to work with the Saint Louis offense. The top-ranked Crusaders pulled away for a 45-21 win over No. 2 Punahou on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium in the ILH Open championship game. Despite 494 yards of total offense, the run-and-shoot guru wasn’t 100-percent satisfied.
“Besides winning, we were very sloppy,” Lee said. “A lot of penalties, missed assignments. A couple guys made some big plays and our defense played well, but offensively real sluggish. We’ve got a lot of work the next couple of weeks.”
The Crusaders will be in the four-team Open Division bracket of the HHSAA State Championships. One aspect they offer more this year than usual is a commitment to the ground game. They entered with a 53-47 percent run-to-pass ratio, and on Saturday, that trend continued. Saint Louis rushed 42 times and passed 24, a ratio of 64-percent run.
Robbie Paikai rushed for 104 yards on nine carries, mostly in the second half. Reserve QB Connor Apo broke off a 67-yard TD with his first snap in the fourth quarter. Mostly, it was Dayton Sam (36 yards, 11 attempts) and de Laura rambling on RPO keepers or outright scrambles from the pocket as Saint Louis built its lead. de Laura’s lively feet were difficult even for a stout Punahou defense to contain.
“We’re trying to be a little more balanced. Nothing wrong with being balanced, kind of taking what they give us,” Lee said. “(Punahou) was a lot more aggressive, rushed five, made us execute. I thought they did a nice job. We were lucky. We got a lot of turnovers (by our defense). We didn’t turn over the ball. By and large, we held on to the ball and our defense got us the ball back.”
Makoa Close came up with a 50-yard TD catch, while de Laura tossed another TD pass to Chance Beyer. de Laura finished with 293 total yards and four total TDs.