Saint Louis in talks with national power Mater Dei for matchup this fall

AJ Bianco returns as a senior in 2021 to start at quarterback for the Crusaders. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Saint Louis. Mater Dei.

May the two be forever entwined in the lore of high school football. Saint Louis coach Ron Lee confirmed on Thursday that the Crusaders are deep into discussion with the Monarchs about a preseason matchup hosted by Mater Dei.

Four-time defending Open Division champion Saint Louis last played on the continent at the end of the 2019 season, losing to St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), 35-19. Earlier that fall, Saint Louis defeated Bishop Gorman (Nev.) at Aloha Stadium, 31-19.

The 2020-21 football season was cancelled in Hawaii, leaving Saint Louis with controlled spring scrimmages against Kamehameha, Punahou and the Mill Vill Trojans club team.

Mater Dei was 5-0 in 2020-21 and finished No. 2 in the SBLive Power 25 national rankings.

“It’s out that we’re working on a game,” said Lee, who is currently vacationing on the mainland. “I’d go back and meet with our Saint Louis people and toss this out.”

For standout returnees who lost an entire year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Saint Louis-Mater Dei battle whets the appetite.

“Heck yeah! I’ve been wanting to challenge them,” junior offensive lineman Jonah Savaiinaea said.

The potential of a one-off matchup with a national powerhouse isn’t brand-new for the Saint Louis dynasty. However, after a layoff of nearly two years without a game, it would make for a top-line return to the gridiron.

“It’s giving Hawaii a boost with football back, going to play one of the top teams in the country, and it’s good for Saint Louis,” Lee said.

Mater Dei isn’t the only program showing interest in playing Saint Louis, but Lee said it would not be easy to turn down a chance to play the Monarchs.


  1. ??? May 27, 2021 2:10 pm

    Much respect for coach Ron playing Nationally Ranked TOP 25 teams. They should schedule 2 or 3 a year!

  2. rrforlifebaby May 27, 2021 3:32 pm

    Wooohooo!!! looking forward to this game if it actually happens!!


  3. Outsider May 27, 2021 5:28 pm

    Paul, do you have anything regarding the Vern Ramie baseball tournament?

  4. Recruited not Rooted May 27, 2021 7:38 pm

    Win or lose this would be a great opportunity for STL and all of Hawaii prep football in general. This offense could be scary good with that O-line, Bianco under center and some VERY good, young receivers and running backs. I think they could put up points against anybody. Defensively is another question. LB’s are the key and strength of this defense. It’ll be a tall task to ask of any defense, but if anybody’s up to it, it would be Coach Cal and these boys. If there is ever a year to knock of the Monarchs it would be this year because they have a sophomore at QB instead of a Bryce Young or JT Daniels. Keeping my fingers crossed. Especially looking forward to having football back again in 2022.

  5. Recruited not Rooted May 27, 2021 7:47 pm

    @ ??? In regards to scheduling 2 or 3 a year, we’d all love that but very unrealistic. You’d need a ton of cash and the open dates on the schedule. Usually you only have one bye week durning the season. Nobody is going to schedule a game of that significance in late October or early November before everybody’s playoffs are about to start. Bishop Gorman wants to schedule STL also, but if you had to choose one, I think Coach Ron is correct in choosing Mater Dei.

  6. Rebel May 27, 2021 10:12 pm

    I think ILH schools may have a lot of open dates.
    The OIA-ILH alliance is no longer existing as of now.

  7. Recruited not Rooted May 27, 2021 10:47 pm

    @ Rebel, very good point, that thought has crossed my mind. The other part of the equation, money, is a real issue too though. Unless you have some sponsors step up and foot the bill, that’s a big ask with a roster of this size. Would love to see 2 games with mainland opponents though. Mater Dei and Bishop Gorman would be something else.

  8. Paul Honda May 28, 2021 10:02 am

    Yep, coming soon.

  9. ??? May 28, 2021 12:33 pm

    @Recruited not Rooted
    Not that hard, I would bet 2 mainland teams would love to come play here & STL only needs to pay for one road trip. Instead of wasting time with scrimmaging & playing Hawaii teams in Pre-season, schedule the mainland teams. Most Mainland teams play 12-15 games not including scrimmages or pre-season. If STL money is that tight why keep 90 players? Only 11 can play at a time.

  10. The heck May 31, 2021 10:59 pm

    Any word on OIA, I heard that they are talking about no play offs and not championship? What if we go tier 4, then go tier 3? Do we stop playing? Will one infected player cause the whole team to withdraw? Is there money for testing? Is testing still necessary since high school kids are lower risk? How bout some additional reporting?

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