Update 11:13 p.m. Final from Aloha Stadium: Bishop Gorman 52, Saint Louis 40. Nice effort by the Crusaders, all 40 points in the second half. Granted, BG was up big and playing prevent defense, but Kuhns, the sophomore, didn’t have it easy. In fact, he got better as the game went along. I don’t think its fair to compare him to Marcus Mariota, but both are tall, both have strong arms with good (not great yet) accuracy, and both were stellar as sophomores.
The difference is that Mariota sat on the bench behind a very talented passer as a sophomore, while Kuhns is getting a good share of snaps. I’m told that Mook-Garcia was on crutches at the end of the game, no word on what happened. But that would explain Kuhns’ entrance.
Bishop Gorman, what an offensive juggernaut. They can pound it on the ground and light it up with Solomon’s aerial show. Tillman, Smith — outstanding receivers ready for Division I college football right now. The way they use their running back, Starks, on pass routes is a huge plus. And there’s Smith and Sweet on returns.
The one weakness they’ll probably have to tighten up on is the interior. Giving up the long runs to Noga was shocking, but Noga has had two big games already this season. His previous high was 170 yards on 17 carries. Tonight it was 201 yards on 20 carries, and he was as strong and fast (it sure seemed) at the end as he was at the beginning.
Safe to say the learning curve is in play for Kuhns and as he gets better, SL gets better. No question, the best 1-2 team in the islands. They’ve faced (mostly) great competition and the ILH regular season is around the corner. I think they’ll be ready.
Update 10:37 p.m. BG’s kicker, Fielden, drills a 39-yard field goal with plenty to spare. Then Kuhns to Abreu from 12 yards out for another Saints touchdown. BG’s lead now 52-33 with 4:34 left.
Update 10:22 p.m. Smith scores on a 19-yard touchdown pas from Solomon. These guys are goooooood. BG leads 49-20. Then Noga bolts up the middle for a 73-yard touchdown jaunt. Now 49-26 with 10:04 left.
Update 10:11 p.m. Adam Noga scores up the middle on a 27-yard run, and after a fumble recovery on a sack of Solomon, Saint Louis scored again. A 12-yard toss from Kuhns to Kainoa Abreu cuts it to 42-20 with 51 seconds left in the third.
Update 9:52 p.m. Funny. Two minutes ran off the clock with just one kick return and one play from scrimmage. With the score 42-7, the scoreboard operator was doing the job: 35-point lead equals mercy rule equals running clock. But after the two minutes ran, the head referee said “No running clock.”
Funny, he didn’t say to put the time back on the clock. So four more plays run, and after an incomplete pass by Saint Louis, he says, “Media time out.”
Odd timing. But I’m guessing Fox Sports was not too happy with the running clock, losing two minutes. So we’re at 3:31 left in the third. Long TV time out.
Update 9:46 p.m. Lightning strikes again for the Gaels. Ryan Smith returns a punt 48 yards for a touchdown. BG leads 42-7 with 6:28 left in the third.
Update 9:38 p.m. Right after Ryder Kuhns sneaks in for a 1-yard touchdown, BG’s Justin Sweet returns the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. BG leads 35-7.
Update 9:09 p.m. Gaels need just three plays to go 62 yards in the final minute of the half. Starks bulls over from 3 yards out to give Bishop Gorman a 28-0 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
Update 8:51 p.m. Solomon doing his Randall Cunningham impression, so elusive and fast. Forced out of the pocket, eludes a bunch of Crusaders and dives with the ball inside the pylon for a 6-yard touchdown. Gaels lead 21-0 with 2:31 to go before halftime.
Update 8:40 p.m. Anu Solomon to Jamir Tillman on a spectacular diving catch in the corner of the end zone (fade route). BG leads 14-0 with 5:11 left in the half.
Update 8:30 p.m. Game is still 7-0, Gaels ahead. Each team has missed a field-goal attempt. Saint Louis’ was from 40 yards out; BG’s from 50. Both were short. Now Saint Louis ball on its 26-yard line. Fox Sports TV time outs are giving both teams plenty of rest.
Update 7:56 p.m. The Gaels march 81 yards to paydirt, with Anu Solomon’s screen pass to running back Nathan Starks for a 13-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 8:08 to go in the first.
7:30 p.m. My wi-fi connection here at Aloha Stadium is sketchy at best since I arrived here two hours ago, but I’ll give it a try. Updated score will be here through tonight’s varsity game. The first game, at 2 p.m., ran three hours long. It was an intermediate game, both passing teams. (‘Iolani beat Saint Louis 57-35, intermediate).
The JV game went quicker; to be sure the STL-BG game starts on time (7:45 p.m.) for TV/Fox Sports consideration, the final quarter of the JV game was on running time. Saint Louis beat Kamehameha 26-6.
Now we’re two minutes from kickoff. Is Bishop Gorman a true national powerhouse? I don’t doubt that. But they’re used to having an hour of warmup. Tonight, they get 30-40 minutes.
Local football fans saw UH get routed by USC today. Another Hawaii-versus-mainland matchup could be intriguing. I just hope it’s a close game.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser