Known for its high-octane offense and gaudy numbers on that side of the ball, Saint Louis can make some plays on defense, too.
The Crusaders forced four ‘Iolani turnovers and had a goal-line stand in the game’s closing seconds, giving the Raiders their first shutout since 2013 in a 33-0 win.
“All credit to the boys, they just played hard,” acting head coach Wes Tufaga said. “They did their responsibilities and ran to the ball and did everything we expected.”
‘Iolani quarterback Jarin Yokogawa was picked off three times, two of them resulting in touchdowns.
Senior defensive back Jalen Saole started the defensive onslaught with the game’s first interception in the first quarter. Noa Purcell then jumped a route for an 85-yard interception return to the end zone.
“We just tried to turn up the tone this week,” Purcell said. “You cannot take ‘Iolani lightly. With this victory tonight, we just gotta look forward and get Punahou next week or Kamehameha.”
Kama Moore added a 71-yard interception return for a touchdown with 3:23 to go in the first half, followed by a Nathaniel Guvette fumble recovery on the ‘Iolani 26 after a quarterback hurry by Isaac Slade-Matautia.
“A lot of things happened tonight. The defense just saved us,” Crusaders quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said. “With the defense’s tempo, it kind of got things going for our offense.”
With the win, the Crusaders are set to compete in next week’s ILH championship game at Aloha Stadium.
“We’re just trying to work. Just give a team effort,” Purcell said. “Next week, we gotta practice hard. Whoever we get next week is gonna be a challenge for us.”