Saint Louis edges closer to Kahuku’s record number of top-tier state championships

Saint Louis linebacker Nick Herbig (19) recorded one of the Crusaders' nine sacks against Kahuku. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

With Friday night’s 45-6 win over Kahuku to end the prep football season, the Saint Louis Crusaders inched even closer to the Kahuku Red Raiders.

The win brings a seventh koa trophy to Kalaepohaku, just one shy of Kahuku’s record of eight in the top-tier state championship. In 21 years since the first state tournament was held, Kahuku and Saint Louis have combined for 15 state titles and each have won more than every other school in the state combined.


The gap between the two schools has never been as wide as it looked in Friday’s finale of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships at Aloha Stadium. Saint Louis’ 39-point win was the largest margin of victory ever in a state final in the top division. Only once (Punahou beating Leilehua 38-7 in 2008) had a team won the title by more than 30 points.

Nonetheless it was all one big relief for Coach Cal Lee, who added a fifth state championship to his personal collection that includes 14 Prep Bowl victories.

Any loss potentially suffered by the Crusaders (12-0), who have won 38 in a row and and are ranked sixth in the nation, would have been a monumental upset.

“Now that it’s over I am so happy for the players,” Lee said. “It was a long season. I’m really proud of the way they responded through the season to end beating a team like Kahuku is a tremendous blessing.”

Lee knows first-hand how beating Kahuku is never a given. The Red Raiders upset Lee’s Crusaders in the 2000 final in the first of five straight wins over Saint Louis in state finals.

It’s a number hard to believe. From 2000 to 2015, Saint Louis went 0-5 against Kahuku with a koa trophy on the line.

That has since changed beginning with Tua Tagovailoa‘s signature win of his prep career, beating the Red Raiders in 2016. A year later, Chevan Cordeiro made one of the most memorable throws in the history of the state tournament when he hit Jonah Panoke for a 53-yard TD in the final minute of a 31-28 win over the Red Raiders.

The Crusaders haven’t lost a game since 2016 and that nail-biter against Kahuku has been replaced with Friday’s blowout.

So many seniors had a hand in the win. Senior quarterback Jayden de Laura, who finishes his career 22-0 as a starter, ran for two touchdowns and threw for 280 yards, with an 86-yard TD to fellow senior Roman Wilson on the game’s second play.

Senior linebackers Nick Herbig (2 1/2 sacks, 5 1/2 tackles for loss) and Jordan Botelho (1 1/2 sacks) accounted for four of the team’s nine sacks. Saint Louis had 18 tackles for loss.

Five of the team’s top six leading tacklers and all four receivers who had positive receiving yardage are all seniors.

It’s a special group with some of them able to say they played in all four state finals.

“It feels great. It’s our four-peat and we played hard tonight,” Botelho said.

The schools this senior class will head off to are impressive. There’s Notre Dame (Botelho), Michigan (Wilson), Wisconsin (Herbig), Utah (safety Kamo’i Latu), UCLA (receiver Matt Sykes), Cal (defensive lineman Stanley McKenzie) and Washington State (de Laura). Seven players from one school in Hawaii headed to Power Five schools.

It’s also a lot to replace come 2020. With so much uncertainty ahead now that the two-year pilot program between the OIA and ILH has come to an end, the landscape of prep football in Hawaii could look a lot different come next August.

One thing is for sure, however. No matter how many seniors the Crusaders lose, there is plenty of talent left behind. Rebuilding? Not at Saint Louis. Not when you’ve won 38 straight.

No matter what prep football looks like in 2020, the Crusaders will still be the team everyone is chasing.


  1. ??? November 30, 2019 12:12 pm

    Will Cal Lee except a Gieco Bowl Series game this year?

  2. Rrforlifebaby November 30, 2019 12:23 pm

    @??? I hope they do. Would be good to see.

    I’m a RRFL, but always support the 808 kids against mainland competition.

    Re the OIA/ILH alliance, I’ve grown to love it. I hope they continue, regardless of St Louis’ current dominance. Dynasties don’t last forever….look at what happened in Nevada. Until then, the rest of the schools just need to continue to work until the next breakthrough.


  3. Good Story November 30, 2019 12:42 pm

    Thank you Billy Hull for this article…this helps keep thing in perspective. Red Raiders will be back stronger next year…I assure you.

  4. Robocop November 30, 2019 4:15 pm

    Who ever was yelling at Tufaga to get off the field when he was hurt, along with all the other crap some kahuku people were yelling, you guys are trash and losers. Along with the people cheering for Quasimodo who was obviously happy with himself for hurting a player. Anyone who taunts an injured player is trash.

  5. Trenchdawg04 November 30, 2019 5:12 pm

    @Robocop if you know then you know… But hurting him it was a clean hit, was he injured was he transported of the field? Nope, just the wind knockout. That is the reason why you always keep your head on a swivel. I agree with the taunting of the fans and what was said, but your doing the same in calling the young man that name. Good luck to both players in the future.

  6. Truthhurts November 30, 2019 5:38 pm

    Can’t remember the last time we lost this many games by this many points in a two-year span …..we are on the right track …. let’s bring the coach back

  7. 88 November 30, 2019 9:13 pm

    Why would Punahou be laughing? They would of lost too….

  8. really November 30, 2019 10:33 pm

    Not by 39 though. But then again, you think losing by 6, 7, 25, and 39 are all the same using your “special” math. #dufus

  9. Country Crusader November 30, 2019 11:04 pm

    They wouldn’t show the hit on T.V. was it that bad? 54 no more class either way….”Quasimodo…..LOL”…..input on the hit0

  10. Trenchdawg04 December 1, 2019 12:13 am

    @Country Crusader showing class as in.. like I said in my previous post if you know then you know they both have history of the field. #10 and #54 was going at it all night.

  11. Wainakea December 1, 2019 1:18 am


    Are you actually trying to be alpha by arguing how much points Punahou was going to lose by? That is sad. At least argue that Punahou had a better chance to win.

  12. JustAfan December 1, 2019 6:30 am

    I see comments regarding Punahou. They had 2 cracks at St Louis and failed. They don’t deserve a 3rd even though they were the second best team this year. That’s how it is.
    Crusaders need to step up and travel to play the top HS teams. If you saw Bosco vs Mater Dei last night, there’s another level of football that I’d like to see loaded St L take on. They probably would get whooped, but so what. Time to challenge themselves with top tier teams. Gorman btw doesn’t count. Program on downside.

  13. Hau’ulaBoy December 1, 2019 7:19 am

    Haha haha, you guys is all funny. We going take it next year! Then you can talk all ish again. That Kahuku fans and people are bad. Whatever. We going be there next year. RR4L

  14. Big Truss December 1, 2019 8:14 am

    St. Louis vs St. Thomas Aquinas – Dec 22

  15. BangkokJoe December 1, 2019 9:52 am

    All I can say is, it’s too bad the “best” two teams in Hawaii were not in States…..again. But I guess politics will always rule Hawaii high school sports. And for those always bellyaching about student athletes being “stolen” by private schools, none of these kids were forced to accept a better education, better athletic facilities, better social networking, or better exposure towards higher education. Their parents made that decision, in the best interest of their kids.

  16. justaguy December 1, 2019 9:57 am

    rules + recruiting + refs = Cal Lee Dynasty

    When two teams work hard all year long the above formula will always come out on top.

  17. Reals December 1, 2019 12:18 pm

    Kahuku people are just straight ignorant . Big for Nutn sole’s . Slow , sluggish, only against weak schools can. Big dawgs no. Punahou should’ve got a third crack cuz when u throw in the towel when the lights went out , u don’t deserve to be even playing in the tournament . Kahuku, you guys got smashed, wait let’s use your terms, Kahuku got smashed mouth .

  18. Recruited not Rooted December 1, 2019 12:45 pm

    @Big Truss Game will be Dec 21. As long as Saint Thomas Aquinas wins Friday should be them, but if not probably Texas State champion. Either way should be a top 5 team but to the haters that still won’t be good enough lol. This team can play with anybody, mark my words. If it’s Aquinas, we’ll smash. Good luck boys.and rep the 808.

  19. Lou December 1, 2019 12:52 pm

    I see the Dupont hit in the back to a dB who was half his size. Play was over, out of bound. That was clearly on tv. I think dupont was ejected on TV in another game for a hit and taunt, so it happens. Up 32 points, 6 minutes left in the game, Tufaga should have been on the bench. But again Cal thinks he’s Saban and needs to run up the score to get national ranking
    Way to go Lee. Now you can play ILH teams 3 times each with 2 more for your ILH championship. Hey but I agree with stlulu lovers, they are light years ahead and the OIA has no business playing them. So AD”s and principals please vote NO on Open BS. We have enough teams in OIA and hold the cards. Cal Lee and the ILH need us. Contract Spectrum for exclusive OIA football. No need ILH. Let Stlulu destroy the ILH teams weekly.

  20. 88 December 1, 2019 12:57 pm

    @Wainakea please be kind to Really, she is a special kind of stupid…

  21. Coach Lou December 1, 2019 12:57 pm

    Nevada did a great thing back a couple of years ago. Kept Bishop Gorman,a Catholic school recruiting machine, out of the States. Found out none of the tattooed recruits was from Vegas or catholic. Lol.

  22. really December 1, 2019 1:07 pm

    Wainakea December 1, 2019 1:18 am

    Are you actually trying to be alpha by arguing how much points Punahou was going to lose by? That is sad. At least argue that Punahou had a better chance to win.
    OMG, you might be more dumb than 88.

    My post was to 88 who said, “Why would Punahou be laughing? They would of lost too….”

    I REPLIED WITH, “Not by 39 though. But then again, you think losing by 6, 7, 25, and 39 are all the same using your “special” math. #dufus”

    I totally see why you guys are so dumb out there.

    What are you talking about? Do I need to explain my comment to you? I am NOT ARGUING how much Punahou would lose by.

    I said “not by 39 points though.” I will break it down for you.

    1. Kahuku lost by 39.
    2. Punahou played STL 2 times and lost by single digits both times.
    3. Therefore using the law of averages and probability, Punahou would MOST LIKELY not lose by 39.

    Man you and 88 might be the most ignorant and dumbest posters in the history of the cyber world.

  23. Cryhyn December 1, 2019 1:09 pm

    For all the crybabies “the two best teams was not in the championship”. Get over it. Petition your ILH schools to leave the HHSAA and you can play each other 10 times . Let me fix this. St.Louis #1……Punahou,Kahuku,Mililani #2 as in 2 games against. And for you other fools. Just make believe, Lahainaluna vs. Kapaa…….Hilo vs. Iolani and for your pleasure, Punahou vs. St.Louis???? See any OIA teams there??? Right. The biggest league in the State, no reps???? Right a 22 team league with no representation???? Time for the OIA to go back to the old school days.

  24. Recruited not Rooted December 1, 2019 1:09 pm

    @ Lou So it’s ok to go back to Kahuku mercy ruling Kailua, Waipahu, Castle, Leilehua etc lol, got it, that makes a lot of sense smh.

  25. really December 1, 2019 1:11 pm

    88 December 1, 2019 12:57 pm
    @Wainakea please be kind to Really, she is a special kind of stupid…

    Says the guy who things 25 points and 39 points with the mercy rule is in effect.

    And can you PLEASE be a little more original. “She is really a special kind of stupid.”

    I mean, that has only been used on these blogs like 500 times. Thanks for being so original and being the 501st person to use it.

    I get it. You think 25 = 39. So I guess that insult was as good as it comes for you. So I will play along so you don’t cut your wrist or something.

    HAHAHAH. BWAHAHAH. That is so funny and insulting! You got me!

  26. Recruited not Rooted December 1, 2019 1:12 pm

    And btw Coach Cal doesn’t run up the score, he pulled his offensive starters mid third. Defense stays in to keep the other team from scoring. That’s not running up the score. And many times starters are out by halftime. Get your facts straight.

  27. Lou December 1, 2019 1:24 pm

    #17, Reals…..right, I remember when St.Lulu had only hawaiians, portagees,Japanese Chinese filipinos, wow now the get the biggest sole roster. After they was getting pounder by Kahuku in early 2000”s they plan was to get more soles. Funny though, somebody had to go in the housings and north shore. Oh and lots were not catholics but mormons. But it’s all good.

  28. Lou December 1, 2019 1:30 pm

    Rooty. Castle,Leileihua,Waipahu and Kailua not in the OPEN. Get your head straight. By the way Leileihua beat St lulu for the States 10 years ago. If you going back to your irrelevant scores, I can bring up Damien,Iolani,Pac5,Waianae etc.etc.

  29. Recruited not Rooted December 1, 2019 2:13 pm

    @Lou You just said scrap the Open Division numb nuts jeeeez

  30. 88 December 1, 2019 2:44 pm

    It’s not often you find someone who insults themself and doesn’t even know it. lol… Good job buddy

  31. really December 1, 2019 4:02 pm

    @ 88, and it’ rare to find someone like you who thinks 25 = 39.

    What kine math stay dat? LOL, dufus.

    For such an internet tough guy that you pretend to be, how come you didn’t answer my question about how come you have your tail between your legs? And you don’t talk as big anymore since Kahuku can’t win the big one anymore?

    You come on here like you are some wannabe football player. You talk big. But now that Kahuku can’t win, your posts are less frequent and you don’t talk as big?

    If you are going to chirp and brag, do it all the time, not just when you win.

    That shows you are a idiot and a hypocrite.

    BTW, 25 does not equal 39.

  32. Hau’ulaBoy December 1, 2019 4:05 pm

    If that’s true, that St. Louis playing a top team in one of those high school Bowl games, then I gotta root for the 808.

  33. Hau’ulaBoy December 1, 2019 4:19 pm

    But 88 still has a point. A L still equals an L. Your trying to argue that you want your team to be number two. And they will be when the rankings come out on Monday. Everyone had two cracks at Crusaders. No one beat them. So that’s the way it is. St. Louis is at another level. Hard for me to say. But I will root for them if they play a mainland team. But if they lose…

  34. Follow the Rainbow December 1, 2019 4:48 pm

    Punahou ain’t gonna ever beat St. Louis if they don’t use a smashmouth style of offense wen they have a lead. Control the clock, slow the game down and keep the St. Louis defense out on the field. Dey can’t handle that, that’s how Kahuku was able to win all those state championships. Take notes buff n blue.

  35. Follow the Rainbow December 1, 2019 4:52 pm

    How many games a year would st.louis play a year on the mainland? Where would the $ come from? Markets? He’s a bust

  36. 88 December 1, 2019 5:10 pm

    @HauulaBoy Don’t waste your time she won’t get it. Like I posted earlier she a special kind of stupid, lol..

    The past 5 years BigRed has been in the big game 4 times. Winning 1 out of the 4. Each time they make it I’m here talking trash like I always do. Last year they didn’t make it hence my absence. What kind of an idiot would come on here and talk trash if their team didn’t even make the ship?… Oh yeah you would, our very own “Special Idiot”… lol

  37. 808Football December 1, 2019 5:18 pm

    Hope St Louis does play a top ranked mainland school come December! Supporting 808 kids all the way!

  38. FBF December 1, 2019 10:40 pm

    Very unlikely Stl playing in December California Florida Texas still planning for state championship they got 3 more weeks of football that be 4 + weeks off for Stl

  39. Hau’ulaBoy December 1, 2019 11:47 pm

    Why not play mainland teams in December? Not like they didn’t have a long break in between games before. I hope they do. And I hope they kick arse up there.

  40. Recruited not Rooted December 2, 2019 7:39 am

    @FBF Actually it is VERY likely they play in December. This other states you mentioned finish no later than the 14th, this game is scheduled fort the 21st in Vegas at Bishop Gorman’s field. Last year was very unlikely because the sponsor wouldn’t foot the entire bill. This year they will foot the entire bill and then some as I understand it.

  41. Recruited not Rooted December 2, 2019 7:46 am

    And thanks H’boy cuz this is great for the whole 808

  42. ILoveHawaii December 2, 2019 8:45 am

    So small kid action.

    We cannot beat you, but I bet you cannot beat one mainland team.


    We cannot beat you, so we taking our ball and going home back to beating lesser teams.

    And yes, Puns had 2 tries, but it would have been less of an ass whooping.
    Because that was what we all witnessed on Friday night.
    Outcoached, outplayed, and this one surprises me, outclassed.
    Who wouldve thought St. Louis would outclass anyone?

  43. Nigg Truss December 2, 2019 9:39 am

    @recruited not rooted my bad I guess that was the day they’re returning. Should be a good game St. Thomas will have the athletes to match up with the Lou. Texas doesn’t participate in the showcase and neither does California but A Florida powerhouse is just as good. Best of Luck St. Louis go represent!

  44. Big Truss December 2, 2019 9:40 am

    Big Truss*

  45. Robocop December 2, 2019 10:53 am

    Just want to clarify, I’m not saying kahuku people are trash. I’m saying anyone who taunts a downed player is trash. It just happened to be kahuku people. Iit doesn’t matter what team, what community, you taunt a downed player you are trash.

    I don’t know the circumstances and I didn’t see the hit, was watching Herbig run. All I saw was Mason on the ground and people taunting him. I don’t care why, don’t care how, don’t care what happened off the field. You just don’t taunt someone that might be injured

  46. ILoveHawaii December 2, 2019 11:28 am

    OIA – 7 teams
    ILH- 3 teams
    BIIF- 2 teams
    MIL- 2 teams
    KIL- 1 team

    Looks fair to me………. Still couldnt seal the deal.
    Go petition the schools to step up their game.

  47. Jasper December 2, 2019 1:17 pm

    this is how i look at the final rankings
    1 saint louis
    2 punahou
    3 mililani
    4 kahuku
    5 campbell
    6 kamehameha

    kahuku got a a.. whooping.

    if you combine the two saint louis games and the two mililani games , it would look like this:

    Saint Louis/ Mililani 108 Kahuku 13

    I still say the second game against mililani was a fluke. Kahuku couldnt even get past midfield. And for those of you who dont know, the mililani special teams players took themselves out (the starters for kick off) but no excuse , it is what it is. Kahuku got the lucky end of the deal, ” like usual’.

  48. shaking head December 2, 2019 1:22 pm

    yea if you think about it, with the two mililani games vs kahuku the score comes out

    Mililani 35
    Kahuku 7

    seriously guys look at the above score. the two games kahuku and mililani played that was the final score and yet kahuku was in the state championship game. What a joke.

    Never looked at it that way.

  49. Cryhyn December 2, 2019 1:56 pm

    Lol, Mililouis now doing math problems to justify why Mililouis lost the OIA. Hilarious. It’s how you finish. Oh by the way according to this article Kahuku 8 Koa and St Louis 7 Koa. Mililouis 1. We keep going to the big dance with the ROOTED warriors. Stlulu and mililulu can take compete for the recruited koa. Ok.

  50. CynHyn December 2, 2019 2:03 pm

    #48 shaking in fear. OIA championship….KAHUKU 7. mililouis 3. That folks is a 39 point swing , which might be the biggest comeback by Kahuku in history. And those numbers also an equal set back by a mililouis,milihalawa,milikalihi in history. Thanks for showing Hawaii how much a recruited public school team failed.

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