Saint Louis defensive tackle Stanley McKenzie usually goes big with everything he does.
>> Plug up the line in the middle, deny the run and chase the quarterback? Got it.
>> Bring his big bat to the plate for the Crusaders’ baseball team? Sure thing.
>> Pile up 11 Division I college football offers from all across the country? You bet.
>> Be a major part of Saint Louis’ resurgence as the team to beat in Hawaii, with four state Open Division championships in his four years of high school? Certainly.
McKenzie, a Cal commit who is 6 feet 2, 266 pounds, was brought up to the varsity late in the 2016 season. It’s four years later and now he’s finishing up his high school career in the fourth-annual Polynesian Bowl on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.
“I’m trying to focus on getting stronger and getting my body right going into college,” McKenzie said after Wednesday’s Polynesian Bowl practice at Aloha Stadium. “So I’m not going to play baseball, knowing that there’s a chance I could start or get into the rotation (with the Bears in the fall).”
When told that his coach in the Polynesian Bowl, the legendary Steve Spurrier (the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner at Florida and the head coach of the Gators’ 1996 national championship team), wants to win even though it’s an all-star game, McKenzie said, “We all want to win, so that’s a good coach. It would be nice to give him his first Polynesian Bowl win. He’s a good coach and he comes out with a lot of energy. He’s a man that wants to get stuff done and we got a lot of stuff done today.”
McKenzie, who said he is honored to be playing in the Polynesian Bowl, talked about the Crusaders’ experience playing in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series, a 35-19 loss in Las Vegas to St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in December.
“Playing against Aquinas, I had never really gone against O-linemen that big,” McKenzie said. “We had penalties and had some kids that were sick. Not trying to make excuses. It was a good game. They’re a good team.”
McKenzie can’t wait to get to college.
“They’re expecting me to come and on the first day, bring it,” he said. “They want me to bring that fire, that energy and just stop the middle and take on those double teams and be a force to be reckoned with.”