Saint Louis’ defense simply on another level

Saint Louis defensive lineman Faatui Tuitele, left, was congratulated by linebacker Noa Purcell after Tuitele's sack and safety on Punahou quarterback Stephen Barber during the first half of an ILH football game earlier this season. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser. (Sept. 16, 2017)

Saint Louis coach Cal Lee arrived at Aloha Stadium on Saturday “100 percent” concerned with the dual-threat potential of Punahou quarterback Stephen Barber.

A dominant Crusader defense eased any anxiety Lee might have felt before kickoff.

Saint Louis’ cohesion at all three levels — defensive front, linebackers and secondary — kept Barber contained and helped the top-ranked Crusaders drop him for six sacks in their resounding 49-13 win over the fourth-ranked Buffanblu.

Already a clear pick atop the Star-Advertiser top 10 for much of the season, Saint Louis reinforced its standing with wins over No. 5 Kamehameha and Punahou by a combined score of 93-13 to open league play. The Crusaders next take on an out-of-state challenge on Sept. 23 when Narbonne (Calif.) visits Aloha Stadium.

As he walked up the north tunnel after Saturday’s win, Lee credited the Crusader secondary for forcing Barber to hold the ball and give a tenacious defensive front time to track him down. Linebacker Noa Purcell recorded Saint Louis’ first sack on the third play of the game and the Crusaders never relented.

Junior defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele ended Punahou’s first possession with a fourth-down sack and opened the scoring by forcing Barber out of the end zone for a safety early in the second quarter.

Barber entered the game averaging 209 yards passing and 92.5 yards rushing in Punahou’s first four games and sealed wins over Junipero Serra (Calif.) and Kamehameha with 99- and 55-yard touchdown runs in the Buffanblu’s previous two games.

He picked up 20 yards on a first-quarter scramble, with half of it called back due to a holding penalty, and managed to break out of trouble on a few occasions. But he finished with a total of minus-14 rushing yards on 13 carries before leaving the game in the third quarter with an injury to his throwing arm after taking a jarring sack.

“He’s a big, athletic quarterback,” Tuitele said of Barber, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior. “He can scramble, he can throw. … We had a hard time tackling, we have to work on that more. Just capitalizing on each down, making it count every time, that was the main focus.”

Saint Louis held Punahou to 21 yards in total offense deep into the second quarter before Barber led the Buffanblu to their first touchdown. Punahou went into the locker room with 81 yards and finished with 119. Three Punahou quarterbacks combined to throw for 185 yards while Saint Louis pushed the Buffanblu running game backward with 12 tackles for loss.

Punahou’s ground total of minus-66 yards included a 23-yard loss on a high shotgun snap recovered by Isaiah Taliulu and another 23 on an errant punt snap that resulted in Saint Louis’ second safety of the game.

Saint Louis led 26-7 at halftime and the defense was on the field for just nine plays in the first 15:07 of the second half. Punahou went three-and-out on their first three possessions after the break for a net of minus-20 yards while the Crusader offense ran 28 plays for 209 yards while reaching the end zone on their first three drives of the second half.

Saint Louis quarterback Chevan Cordeiro did most of his damage on scrambles in the first half — rushing for 42 yards on his first five carries — but found his groove and completed 10 of 11 throws in the second half on his way to a 345-yard, four-touchdown performance. Receiver Mitchell Quinn caught three of those scores and finished with 142 yards on six receptions. The Crusaders finished with 516 yards in total offense.

Punahou coach Kale Ane said Barber wanted to return after taking a big hit in the third quarter. The Buffanblu face Kamehameha again on Friday in a rematch of their 21-0 win last on Sept. 9.

“Hoping some rest will allow him to play,” Ane said.

Hugh Brady and Nui Adolpho alternated drives to end the game with Adolpho throwing a 23-yard touchdown pass to Koa Eldredge with 31 seconds left.


  1. Hyn September 17, 2017 12:50 am

    Toomeke where you at?

  2. Dafun September 17, 2017 4:09 am

    St Louis proves they deserve the #1 spot by destroying punahou and nobody comments on here about it….i always knew this forum was a bunch of Kahuku bandwagon fans

  3. Leeboy September 17, 2017 5:51 am

    I told my good friend 88 that the brotherhood had the best D in the state. Hopefully he becomes a believer now. What else does Noa have to do to to win the Defensive Player of the Year! by the way did anyone see Jordan Iosefa ball for USC yesterday.

  4. Envy September 17, 2017 7:46 am

    Dafun, oh, they will be back later, especially if St. Louis loses to Narbonne. But, they, like everyone, just saw what St. Louis’s D did to the running game. Not a good sign for any opposing team, especially teams that rely on the run for most of their plays.

  5. Coach C September 17, 2017 8:00 am

    That’s exactly why Cal Lee wants his opponents to be “pass happy”. “We don’t know how to defend running offenses”. Wow just saw Hauoli sack Brady.

  6. Rrforlifebaby September 17, 2017 8:32 am

    We’ll see what happens come playoffs. Have to admit the Crusader D is nasty. I honestly don’t see the Crusaders losing to Narbonne. Iosefa looked good yesterday. Wanted to see Malepeai have a good game too, but that Texas front shutdown all the USC running backs.


  7. Whhy September 17, 2017 9:56 am

    DaFun, Why do you feel you need validation by Kahuku fans? Can’t you just be happy for Team.

  8. 88 September 17, 2017 10:52 am

    LeeBoy we all know who has the best D in the State so stop already. Your Crusaders come close but they still 2nd. As for my nephew Noa, yes he should of be the Defensive Player of the year but he is always over looked because of his height. This pass summer he balled out at the camps in the mainland and was easily the best Defensive player on the feild but the coaches kept giving more opportunities to the taller players even though Noa was clearly better.

  9. Dafun September 17, 2017 11:09 am

    Any time by now we’re going to see a sad kahuku fan comment on this on how somehow St. Louis is not on that kahuku level and then end the conversation with….RR4L

  10. Dafun September 17, 2017 11:12 am

    Envy, you’re right. Last night the D was absolutely destroying Punahou, something they haven’t faced this season alone. I go to all the games so I’m pretty sure this has been their best D in years. I’m just surprised on how nobody comment led on how many penalties there were in the game. I swear St. Louis had like 30, a common thing every time St. Louis plays punahou. But somehow they fought past it and destroyed them. Even the O after they adjusted looked top notch.

  11. Hyn September 17, 2017 12:47 pm

    With that defense and the offense getting better every game that’s a scary team to face in the playoffs. The defense is so good that the offense gets over looked. They average over 40pts a game and didn’t even play a full game yet..

  12. Awrite!! September 17, 2017 1:47 pm

    Like it was said above, STL is more then happy to face teams that are pass happy because their defense can shut it down, They would rather avoid a smashmouth team like Kahuku had two years ago. Im sad to admit as a RR4L that it looks like Kahuku is commiting to becoming a passing team and they will not beat STL in the state tourney. I love our QB but him and his receivers are nowhere near as efficient to be title contendors, will only go 3-n-out against good defenses like at bingham and force our D to get tired.

  13. RRFL75 September 17, 2017 1:49 pm

    St. Louis has the best D in the state so far. Good performance last night.

    However, Punahou’s “Madden” offense coordinator helped St. Louis D be successful and most of you who knows football understand with teams like Punahou. Preparation was questionably? You only know what you know Punahou, and you will end your season early based on ignorance and pride…! If you don’t look inside your organization of coaches that are qualified and allow them to make decisions.

    EGO got in the way with Punahou by not kicking the field goal in the 1st quarter. With a good team like St. Louis, you need to put points on the board against them whenever you get a chance to get close. It does something to the mindset and emotion of the game. St. Louis defense is a bunch “craze dawgs” if you don’t put points on the board.

    Sad and hard to watch Punahou because they have coaches on that sideline that can call the chess match plays on the run and pass scheme. I.e. Fred Salanoa or Reggie Torres should be the OC. It all starts from the top. And it’s unfortunate the Punahou’s head coach can’t swallow his pride and make the change because the OC is his son. Hurting the kids in the short and long term of the program. Might affect college prospects to be evaluated if their season ends early.

    Hope they will make adjustments. Like to see a better game.

  14. ToppDoggs September 17, 2017 1:51 pm

    Can someone wake me up in 14 yrs when the King of Hawaii Football breaks his old record!

  15. Awrite!! September 17, 2017 2:03 pm

    Leeboy – You mean that Jordan Iosefa from Waipahu High? Yeah he was ballin yesterday!

  16. Leeboy September 17, 2017 2:10 pm

    @ Awrite- yeah that’s the same Jordan that figure out he was wasting his talent at Waipahu and joined the brotherhood!

  17. Awrite!! September 17, 2017 2:59 pm

    @Leeboy – Yeah great for the kid and others that jump ship to join super teams ala Kevin Durant. But kills the competitive balance of Hawaii football.

    Like RRFL75 said up above…ILH teams that have bad seasons (currently Pun) only hurt their stock/prestige and college recruiting potential of their clients (the students/familys). That is why ILH recruits hard because as long as they can field a super team they have the advantage to win a title and get their kids college offers. Those private schools rely on student tuition and alumni/booster donations, having a sh!!ty sports program kills their prestige.

    @Toppdogg – You are very humble.

  18. HI HS FAN September 17, 2017 3:01 pm

    Yes, St. Louis has DA BEST DEFENSE in the state. They are dominant on all three levels, d-line, linebackers, and secondary. They’re a SHUT DOWN defense. Those who say Kahuku has the best defense needs to really take a second look. The d-line is good. Linebacker Mike Ah You is a beast in the middle. However, the secondary is young and not on the same level as the past two years. Also, there seems to be a couple of individuals free-lancing and not doing their assignments which hurts the overall defense.

  19. ili September 17, 2017 3:03 pm

    Cal Lee got the Crusaders rolling now. And don’t say because Cal Lee stole players from Kahuku, not every player on the roster game from Kahuku, just remember that.

  20. @76SOUTH September 17, 2017 3:41 pm

    St. Louis weakness is the corners so they are lucky to have A good front 7. Give a QB time in the pocket then they’ll expose the corners who are overrated! Front 7 makes them look good! Same with mililani defense. Their corners are weak. This is a weak year for cornerbacks! I would put St. Louis to be favored followed by Kahuku and Mililani. If Kapolei gets it together then I’m sure nobody will want to face them in the playoffs.

  21. george September 17, 2017 3:50 pm

    The Saints won all that Championships because of there defense. Especially the front four. Itʻs starts and ends on the line of scrimmage.

  22. Coach_B September 17, 2017 4:08 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the PUN OC. Like you said, it isn’t about bringing in better coaches. It’s really about letting those outside coaches make decisions and have input.
    Prime example was when PUN lost to Mililani in the championship a couple years back. Punahou was down several possessions by halftime but almost stormed back by riding Wayne Taulapapa to one of the biggest comebacks I have ever seen in the playoffs. Granted they were one play away from actually taking the lead late, but that’s not my point. Their OC insisted on running gadget type plays and forcing the ball deep when they had a talented OL and an All-State caliber RB. Reggie Torres had independently made a few tweaks to his OL lineup leading up to the game in order to take advantage of the Mililani defense’s alignment and personnel. The OC didn’t lean on this advantage until the game was nearly out of hand.
    The Punahou offensive staff is also too enamored by raw talent to effectively compete with top tier programs. Everyone sees Their QB Barber as a physical specimen that is utterly unstoppable due to his raw athletic ability and arm strength, but I know for a fact that his actual ability as a QB, things like reading progressions and making good decisions, is lacking far behind less physically gifted players around the league. This was exceedingly clear when he threw 4 interceptions against KSK, although their OC could’ve helped him out more by calling fewer deep passing plays and leaning on a developing run game and large OL.
    Hats off to STL for a game well played, especially that talented and well coached defense. Maybe Punahou should shake up their defensive staff as well. The talent is there, but the scheme doesn’t seem to be as well designed or executed as STL.

  23. TrueRr4L September 17, 2017 4:10 pm

    Dafun. Don’t hate on Kahuku. Saint Louis is awesome. I have family ties there and I truly believe they have the best coach in cal lee. But I am also a red raider for life. It’s all good.

  24. Leeboy September 17, 2017 5:13 pm

    @Coach B great point braddah! you can have all the talent in the wold but you also need a good coaching staff. Just ask Kapolei bout that. SMH

  25. Awrite!! September 17, 2017 7:26 pm

    CaochB/leeboy – Ill take talent over coaching anyday. Just ask Reggie Torres 2005 Kahuku champs, Vae Tatta 2015 Kahuku champs as first year coaches. Also Darnell Arceneaw who coached Mililani in 2007-09 with average results but goes to STL in 2010 and wins a state title his first year at STL.

    Kids nowdays are training year round with private trainers so their athletic ability is already off the charts, come football season the coaches just need to put it together so yeah, coaching is important but you didnt see Cal Lee winning titles at Kalani and you didnt see Kale Ane win titles till he up’d his recruting efforts for talent.

  26. Hau'ulaBoy September 17, 2017 7:30 pm

    Envy: Running team? Really? Ha ha. Too funny. We’ll see at the end of the season. RR4L._.

  27. Hau'ulaBoy September 17, 2017 7:37 pm

    Crusaders D looks good. But that wasnt a running team. This D looks really good. Nothing to take away from their game. Just Envy said Puns was a running team. Just saying… RR4L._.

  28. Hau'ulaBoy September 17, 2017 7:42 pm

    I love Reggie too. Bu he should not be the OC for Puns. Too funny.

  29. Hau'ulaBoy September 17, 2017 7:45 pm

    Reggie wasnt even the OC when he was with Red Raiders. So keep dreaming on that one. OC? Too funny. RR4L._.

  30. Envy September 17, 2017 9:36 pm

    Hau’ula – Punahou’s run game was non-existent. We all know Punahou and a majority of the ILH is passing. It’s been that way since Sean Kinilau and Garrett Gabriel back in the 1980s.

  31. Hau'ulaBoy September 17, 2017 10:44 pm

    Envy: That was in response to your comment on shutting down Punahou’s run. You stated that teams that rely on the run should beware because Saint Louis shut down the Puns run game. And in response to that, I was just saying that Punahou is not a run team. Therefore, a team that is a run heavy team will be a whole different beast. I know the ILH is a passing leauge. But thank you for your input. Its been fun chatting. But good night everyone. RR4L._.

  32. Coach_B September 17, 2017 11:14 pm

    I’m going to agree with you that talent is more important than coaching in most cases, but there really isn’t that big of a talent disparity between STL and PUN, or at least not 36 pts worth of talent. Coaches still have to put their players in the best position to win. That is why some less talent teams pull off upsets. You are right that Cal Lee didn’t win titles at Kalani, but they had tremendous success relative to their historic levels of success. You can see the opposite when Cal Lee left STL. They only had 1 title in the entire period between his stints. I don’t think the talent just disappeared from STL for 15 years.

    I wasn’t so much making the case for Reggie as the OC at Punahou, rather I was making a case against the current OC. Your point that he wasn’t even the OC at kahuku just builds on what I was saying. He wasn’t the OC, but even he could see certain opportunities and adjustments that contributed heavily in their near comeback against Mililani.
    As for the PUN run game… I agree there really isn’t one. That’s not to say the pieces aren’t there. Having a roster where you can field 4 300+lb OL and 4 more 260+lb OL suggests the talent should be there. Generally speaking, building a strong run blocking OL is easier than developing a cohesive pass blocking unit, assuming you have physically dominant athletes. That doesn’t even factor in the mix of speed and size of the PUN RB rotation and Barbers ability running the ball, which some may argue is his strong suit. What is lacking is a strong fundamental approach to running the ball. You can probably have a casual fan predict run plays the PUN OC calls just from their formations and personnel. If there are 7 OL and some FBs then chances are that they called a run play. Too predictable…

  33. Dafun September 18, 2017 7:22 am

    Why does every Kahuku fan end their comment with RR4L. I think we get it that this place is dominated with Kahuku fans

  34. TooMeke September 18, 2017 7:47 am

    Hyn – I just posted on the actual game article – didn’t have a chance to follow game.

    But I owe you plate lunch! St LuLu came to play and Puns stayed home and didn’t participate.

    Lemme know where, what and when and I’ll call it in…under “Hawaiian”…?

    Hopefully rematch is a better game.

    As for defense…no doubt the played great. Maybe as good as Big Red’s D…maybe.

    Shoots – lemme know details.

  35. FightingHawynOfNotreDame September 18, 2017 10:47 am

    @Coach_B Ane is over rated and has been for years. He has lucked out by getting some extreme talent, Teo, Hilliard, Noa but realistically, he hasn’t produced. I’m not complaining, as long as the Puns keep drinking the Kool-Aid, they won’t be in the picture much… Hats of the Crusdaer D, they’ve been playing very well.

  36. FightingHawynOfNotreDame September 18, 2017 10:49 am

    @DaFun they have school spirit and personal pride 😉 all power to them, nothing wrong with being proud of their team.

  37. Coach_B September 18, 2017 11:33 am

    So does that mean you are agreeing with me? I was just trying to make a point about Kale Ane’s son and his utter incompetence as an OC. I could go on and on about Kale’s own incompetence as a HC…

  38. FightingHawynOfNotreDame September 18, 2017 11:54 am

    @Coach_B totally agree with you. Not taking anything away from St Louis, they played very well, sans the questionable penalites. And as a Crusader I’m hopeful Punahou keeps Ane so all the talent they recruit can go to waste.

  39. Education First September 18, 2017 12:19 pm

    I saw this game. It wasn’t close. The real score was 49-7. Punahou scored a meaningless TD late in the game with STL reserves in the game.

    Punahou is overmatched on all facets of the game, head coach, offensive coaching staff, defensive coaching staff, special teams, and overall talent.

    It was like watching a varsity team playing a jv team. St. Louis looked like they were toying with them at times.

    I cannot see either Kamehameha or Punahou giving them a competitive game this year. It might be time for a coaching change, at the OC and DC level at the least.

  40. Coach_B September 18, 2017 2:01 pm

    Tell you the truth, if it wouldn’t effect the kids playing for him, then I’d be really interested in seeing Punahou lose by 35+ for the whole season. Preseason, regular season, dead last in the ILH with a sizable senior class. There hasn’t been enough of a reason for the school to push for change. Kale has really been the only successful coach in the last 30 years. Blowing out OIA teams preseason, beating KSK, and bringing in promising talent will probably keep his job safe until he wants to retire. It also doesn’t help that he is an assistant AD and has deep connections throughout the Punahou community. If they really want to go out and reach the next level, then they might need change, but it might take a catastrophic season for that to happen.

  41. TooMeke September 19, 2017 6:06 am

    Raise your hands if you think Big Red will only run once in the 1st half and only 4 times total for the whole game when they run over St LuLu in States??



    Didn’t think so…

    Puns HC needs to fire his son (da OC) who never played a down of football in his life. 4 rushing plays??? That was ridiculous. How you gonna call 4 vertical routes with 4 WRs on 1st down on your own 5 yard line?? Dummy. Go back to playing Madden. Leave real play-calling to people who actually PLAYED on the field.


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