Two friends and former teammates met on the Saint Louis School field Thursday during the Crusaders’ football scrimmage against Moanalua.
Guard Arasi Mose of Saint Louis and defensive tackle Tupu Alualu of Na Menehune had a blast exploding on each other on the line. Finally, they got to hit real opponents instead of the teammates they’ve been competing against all summer.
“Going up against one of the top lines in the state was a good experience for me,” said Alualu, whose brother Tyson plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. “The best opponent was Arasi. He gave me a good time. I liked the battle.”
Alualu played for Saint Louis before transferring to Moanalua.
Added Mose, who has offers from the University of Hawaii and UNLV: “That’s my old classmate. It was good fun going against him. He’s good, athletic … their best D-linemen, one of the top in our class (of 2019).”
Mose and his offensive linemates were reminded by coaches after the scrimmage of the work needed for the Crusaders to make a successful defense of their two top-tier state championships in a row.
“The coaches said we were playing as individuals and not as a team,” Mose said. “They said we gotta come out stronger and sharper tomorrow. We gotta get our third ring this year. We’re all protecting Kalaepohaku.”
Saint Louis coaches were telling the O-line boys that they can’t just walk on the field and expect to win … and that work is the key.
The Saint Louis offense, with Jayden de Laura at quarterback, showed moments of brilliance. De Laura succeeds Chevan Cordeiro, who is now at UH.
Moanalua quarterback Nick Au and his teammates got sharper the longer the scrimmage went on (not so much against the Saint Louis starters), and moved the ball with passion toward the end.
“That last drive is kind of what you’ll see every week,” Na Menehune coach Savaii Eselu said. “This is our only scrimmage, so we were trying a lot of different combinations. At the end, we said forget it and we put it all together.”
Eselu loved the fact that Moanalua’s only scrimmage was against the powerful Crusaders.
“We looked OK, started out sluggish like anything else that is new,” he said. “I like what we saw. What better way than getting the first crack at the No. 12 team in the nation? For the most part, everything was sharp. I can appreciate that front they (the Crusaders) gave us because we were having problems picking it up. We’ll be trying to see if (another opponent) follows suit with that front. We’ll get it cleaned up.”
Added Alualu: “We were scrimmaging the top team in the Open Division. This will build us up and give us a chance for when we go against some of the top teams (in Division I). If we can hang with the top team, we shouldn’t have a problem in our division. The coaches are making sure we’re ready for every team we go against.”
Running back Shaka Paikai had some long gainers for Saint Louis. Teammates Solomon Leslie, Harvey Welch and Junior Wily came up with interceptions on defense, as did Moanalua’s Trequan Henderson.
The Crusaders host Kailua for a scrimmage on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Both Saint Louis and Moanalua are off on the first weekend of the season (Aug. 3-4) this year.
On Aug. 10, Saint Louis opens with a game against Waianae at Aloha Stadium, and Moanalua visits Castle.