The Saint Louis offense was Surgical and hot for a half.
Then it took some practical ball control, stellar defense and a sound finish for the nation’s 10th-ranked team to outlast No. 15 Bishop Gorman (Nev.) 31-19 on Friday night at Aloha Stadium.
Jayden de Laura was up to the task. After completing 17 of his first 22 pass attempts in the first half, de Laura finished 23-for-30 for 296 yards with one pick — on a forced pass in the end zone that got deflected. Mike Doss came up with the pick, a play that prevented Saint Louis from opening a three-touchdown lead.
“That was a good play on the defense’s part,” the senior quarterback said.
The Crusaders were the more poised team, at least until a torrent of penalties in the second half. But they were up to the task in all three phases, getting a 30-yard field goal from junior Lason Napuunoa to essentially ice the game with a 31-13 lead and just 5:02 left. There won’t be a party for this win, but the effect on a national scale will be eye-opening rather than measured.
“I think the guys, they take the victory, it wasn’t just for us, but for everybody on the island, especially the alumni,” said de Laura, who also rushed for 55 yards on 16 carries. “I think this is different from the other games we play against the other island teams.”
He wasn’t entirely surprised by Bishop Gorman’s defensive look in the first half.
“Throughout the week, we went over their coverage and their defensive scheme. Then they adjusted and went into cover-2, they went into their zone. We had to go back and adjust,” de Laura noted.
As for the celebration, there might not be one. No parade, even for a win over a national powerhouse like Bishop Gorman.
“We’ve got to get over this game already. It’s finished. We got that win. We live on it tonight, come back tomorrow and get ready for Kamehameha next week,” de Laura said.
One of USA Today’s takeaways from the game was de Laura proving he can compete with the best. You can read their reaction to the game by clicking here.