They weren’t perfect, but the Saint Louis Crusaders were pretty close.
Facing elimination, Saint Louis amassed 464 yards of total offense in a 41-7 runaway win over No. 1 Kamehameha on Friday night at Aloha Stadium. By winning the ILH playoff tournament, Saint Louis will meet Kamehameha, the regular-season winner, for the league title and an Open Division state tournament berth next week.
AJ Bianco was a dual threat once again, continuing a metamorphosis since the first time the teams met. He passed for 351 yards and three touchdowns, and also ran for a 13-yard score.
“They give a pretty similar look to what we’ve seen in the past. I think it was more taking what the defense was giving me,” said Bianco, who committed to Hawaii last month. “The play calling was just great and we were able to catch them in a lot of looks that we wanted.”
Bianco completed 16 of his 21 pass attempts, spreading the pigskin to seven different receivers.
Kamehameha had won the first two meetings in dramatic fashion, 23-21 and 34-31. The latter game was a comeback win by the Warriors, who trailed 31-20 at the half and benefited from a Saint Louis fumble near midfield in the fourth quarter to rally and win. This time, the Crusaders took care of the ball for the most part with just one turnover.
“I just feel like each week we’re getting better and better, gaining chemistry. I can feel everyone’s confidence,” Bianco said. “Finishing. We also came out with a lot more energy. That was a big thing this week, just really emphasizing finishing.”
On Friday night, Saint Louis had a 3-0 lead when the football leaked free on a draw play. Kamehameha recovered at the Saint Louis 43-yard line.
“Here we go again,” Crusaders coach Ron Lee said. “That happens. That was bad fundamentals. His hands and stuff. They can’t make mistakes. They won’t play.”
The Crusaders limited Kamehameha’s smashmouth ground game to 121 rushing yards. Warriors running back Noah Bartley had 32 yards on eight carries before leaving with an ankle injury. In this third battle between the teams, Saint Louis’ front seven seemed to clog just about everything between the tackles and beyond.
“We’re playing a lot better defense. That’s the key. That’s what helps the offense,” Lee said.
The championship game next week will be at yet another level of elite competition. Saint Louis has evolved in the past two games, but Kamehameha will be sharper than ever in the coming week of preparation.
“Oh no, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to get better,” Lee said. “This is a big game. We didn’t win anything. We’re just playing better. Next week is huge. Next week is for the marbles. I’m not surprised. We played the way we practiced.”
Another factor is the touchbacks by Saint Louis kicker Lason Napuunoa, who connected on field goals of 30 and 22 yards in the first half.
“It’s about time. He does it in practice. Now he’s starting to do it (in games),” Lee said.
Kamehameha planned on having practice Saturday morning.
“We have one more game and we’ve got to make that count,” Warriors coach Abu Ma‘afala said. “Nothing matters, even tonight. We have to match the intensity of the moment. They had some pretty nice schematic things to stop us. We missed a lot of opportunities. This is championship football and we’ve got to learn to embrace the experience.”
Saint Louis planned to have a rest day on Saturday instead of the usual workout.
“They worked hard this week,” Lee said. “And they’re going to have to work hard again next week.”
Bianco’s first year as a starting quarterback is clearly on an uptick. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound two-sport standout has been far more elusive in the past month.
“It’s always a good feeling after you win, but we know next week is the one,” he said. “We expected this to happen. Our defense, the last two weeks, has been playing lights out. Them guys have been balling.”
Including last week’s 35-0 elimination-game win over Punahou, the Crusaders have outscored their foes 76-7 in their last two games.
At Aloha Stadium
Saint Louis (4-3, 2-2 ILH) 10 17 14 0 — 41
Kamehameha (3-2, 3-1 ILH) 0 0 0 7 — 7
STL—Lason Napuunoa FG 30
STL—Devon Tauaefa 45 pass from AJ Bianco (Napuunoa kick)
STL—Bianco 13 run (Napuunoa kick)
STL—Napuunoa FG 22
STL—Jaysen Peters-de Laura 18 pass from Bianco (Napuunoa kick)
STL—Mason Muaau 65 pass from Bianco (Napuunoa kick)
STL—Keola Apduhan 3 run (Napuunoa kick)
KS—Raiden Morris 60 pass from Kealii Ah Yat (Winston Freitas kick)
RUSHING—STL: Keoni Catrett 4-15, Keola Apduhan 6-34, AJ Bianco 6-17, Chaz Delto 3-12, William Lentz 2-7, Elijah Dolor 1-3, No. 86 1-1. KS: Noah Bartley 8-32, Kealii Ah Yat 3-(-11), Dwight Apao 1-24, Blaze Kamoku 1-(-2), Micah Mahiai 11-50, Sunrise Solatorio 5-29, team 1-(-1),
PASSING—STL: Bianco 16-21-0-351, Kauna‘oa Kamakawiwo‘ole 4-8-0-25. KS: Kealii Ah Yat 8-19-1-103, Brayden Keopuhiwa 0-4-1-0.
RECEIVING—STL: Trech Kekahuna 5-56, Muaau 2-78, Peters-de Laura 4-93, Tauaefa 2-58, Chyler DeSilva 3-49, Yosei Takahashi 2-29, Randon Cordeiro 2-13. KS: Bartley 1-3, Duke Lorenzo 2-7, Sheyden Iokia 1-4, Kamoku 1-8, Morris 2-73, Mahiai 1-8.
waiting now for 88 and the RR4L crew to chime in how OIA football is so great this year and how St. Louis looked bad. Anytime by now…
Hmmmm. Wonder what Cal Lee is up to? Is he still helping St. Louis Defense??? Since the playoffs started Crusaders Defense looked different
88 and RR4L, thinking what excuse to use now.
Like 88 said, it’s a matter of will. Was do or die for Lulu. Kam played like a team who knew they would have one more shot. Lulu was obviously the more hungry team. Let’s see what happens next week when both teams are equally motivated.
I think 88 and RRFL probably got class and StL vs. Kamehameha got nothing to do with them. After a great sack StL got called for taunting last night. Shhs. But good game Stl.
There is something wrong if you coming on here and gloating about the Crusaders victory over a team they should have NEVER lost to in the first place. 3 tries to beat Kamehameha, really?
@88…lol cuz it’s so true. Well Stl, njoy this next game cuz win or lose you’ll be waiting for a hot minute until your next game. Njoy the front row seat to Kahuku annihilating the OIA. Lol.
Kahuku will win OIA. But they have no passing game, no QB., They’re gonna run as usual but Kamehameha has the best RB in the state and St. Louis stopped him. Come the end of the season I’m gonna see 88 crying like a baby as usual for the last 5 years and the RR fans that keep crying every year when Mililani and st Louis both beats them
The last 5 years Mililani has been to the championship game 1 time and Kahuku 4. So I don’t know why Kahuku fans would be crying about anything.
Kahuku is crying because the last time they won the States was back in 2015, and basically Kahuku and Mililani is the only teams to compete against each other, cause the rest has no chance, next year will go back to the cross over games in the OIA and ILH, should be a dandy for all the ILH teams.
Because Kahuku has been getting worked the last few years
I think you mean “ the last year”. We have already established that the Crusaders 2019 squad was one of the best that they had in a long time. For someone who complains about bringing up the past you sure like to bring up the past, a lot…..
Make no mistake about it, win or lose next Friday Kamehameha is a very good football team. And the way Saint Louis has played lately I don’t think anybody would leave them out of their top 4. It’s too bad we can’t take the two league champions and the next 2 best teams as the 4 that qualify for states regardless of league affiliation. I understand it’s a little more difficult this year because there are no inter league games, but don’t fans want to see the best vs the best. Go back to 2018 and 2019, Punahou was the second best team in the state and could never make the tournament. As good as that 2019 STL team was, lest we not forget that they were a fourth down back up QB overthrow to a wide open receiver away from keeping STL out of the tourney and Punahou very possibly being state champs. Any other state in the country and the best battle it out on the field. Not in Hawaii though because of OIA politics/ego smh.
Yup. The top 4 teams regardless of league should automatically make the State tournament. Hawaii is just @$$ backwards…
@88 You can say that again! My top four as of right now. 1. Kahuku 2. Saint Louis 3. Kamehameha
4. Mililani Can’t sleep on Campbell though, just not enough to go on yet.
Love it! Best 4, get it done! Only problem is OIA will want Saints vs Kamehameha and Kahuku vs Mililani every time. Which is what we already get in the regular season. They always complain about a possible all ILH state championship. Why? Best 2 should always play. I never hear ILH whine about a possible all OIA champion.
“…no passing game”???? Bruh…you are in for a rude awakening.
-The OIA has no reason to allow another ILH school into the playoffs.
-STL fans….don’t sleep on Kahuku. FYI, they can actually throw the ball this year.
Bartley has 362 yards rushing against St. Louis in 2.5 games. That’s stopping him? He’s averaging 145 yards a game against the Crusaders. With those numbers Bartley would go to the Hall of Fame.
Bottom line , only 1 ILH can go ? SMH. Please get it right because obviously , kam puns and the crusaders belong in the state tournament . When state tourney comes, I can tell you for a fact , it won’t actually be the top teams in the state .
@opinion the last game he got stopped. Complete difference until he got hurt.
@good story….kahuku has a passing game against crappy teams like Kapolei so yes they do have a passing game 😂
Both previous games he went off in the second half. Woulda happened again. An unfortunate injury stopped him. Not St. Louis
1. St Louis Crusaders will be first in Hawaii Prep World ranking tomorrow, November 1, 2021
2. St. Louis Crusaders will be first in Hawaii Prep World ranking November 8, 2021
3. St. Louis Crusaders will be first in Hawaii Prep World ranking at the end of the 2021 football season, whenever that may be,
4. St. Louis Crusaders will be first in Hawaii Prep World ranking at the end of every football season till Year 2025.
WHAT’S YOUR POINT? They should be 1st every year!
Their the IMG, Mater Dei, Bishop Gorman of Hawai’i.
Even Stevie Wonder & Ray Charles can SEE that…
1. I think the Hawaiians are done.
2. Lulu cannot stop the run.
3. Radford ran the score up on the Tigers.
4. The inter-league schedule has been dominated by the ILH.
5. Millville and RR’s are only winning because they have better pieces.
6. Pac-5 is still playing games despite ILH season officially over.
7. Millville has been the only OIA team to consistently pass the ball in the state tourney vs ILH teams. (not counting scrambling)
8. Puns got slapped by Kapolei the only year 2 ILH teams were allowed into the state tourney.
9. OIA will never allow a possible all ILH final in the state tournament.
10. If there was any a year that Lulu CAN be dethroned, this is it.
You folks do remember that Kahuku did win some national Pylon tournaments right??? If Lulu cannot stop Kamehameha’ s running game…you think they can stop Kahuku’s? Please, I beg all of you to make the mistake of thinking this team is one dimensional…you guys “honestly” are “da fun”niest clowns.
Kahului has not had a good team since 2017 so idk what you guys are talking about. And no to 88 who thinks they won in 2016. Check again last time was 2015 when Tia was a junior. And idk where you’re getting these ideas that kabuki is a powerhouse when they haven’t even played St. Louis or kamehameha yet. They’ve played Kapolei which is worse than the St. Louis 2 team which doesn’t say much. And a scrimmage which wasn’t even televised for people to see doesn’t say much either
I love the fact that kahuku fans like their team this year. That means more than 20 of them will show up if they make it to the state championship game. Now that they believe they have a chance to win. The kids gotta prove to the community they are worth the drive. This faithful fans aren’t showing up to see their team get mercy ruled
I didn’t say they won in 2016. I said the class of 2016 was the last to win the State Title for Kahuku. Either you need better glasses or your English teacher failed you when it came to reading and comprehending
Mililani probably had a chance against kahuku this year. Now that their QB is down , It aint going to be pretty. Sorry Millville , all that talk about if there were no season, consider them state champs? LMFAO . CLOWNS I TELL YOU.
Kahuku fans don’t like their team every year they love their team every year. That’s why there are more than 20 people at the games. Kids don’t have to prove nothing to the community. You sound like you did not get the same support growing up. It’s ok buddy, put on your big boy pants and move on…
And the scrimmage was live streamed by Kamehameha for all to watch. Go watch it. You will see the starters playing on both sides..
Malo Kahului-he needs glasses
Kahuku loves a winner. That’s when they show up. No one showed up to support against Delaura those 2 years because they knew. Last time was against Chevan. The kids and commentators were basically begging for the “community” to show up and support. I got a lot more support growing up than your teams did in the last 2 state championship games so don’t worry about me. Maybe this team will be worthy of the winner love than teams of the past got.
You killing me.
I would love to see a 6 team state playoff bracket! Both #1 seeds from OIA & ILH get a first round bye. The other 4 teams would be made up of either OIA/ILH(only 1 other team may qualify)/ Outer Island. I know that the outer island teams may not always have a team that can compete, but at least this gives them a chance if they do.
And maybe your boyfriend will finally see the real you and give you the attention you deserve… I don’t know what planet you live on but here on this planet the Kahuku championship games have always been full.. some more than others but none the less the Kahuku side line was always full.
It was on TV! The kids and announcers was asking the “community” to come out because they didn’t the year before! Guess what you guys didn’t answer the call that year either. Lol you lying to yourself. I know I’m right because I seen it with my own eyes. You know I’m right unless you didn’t watch in person or on tv. But the past is the past just show your team actual love instead of just lying to yourself on the internet. Also don’t be homophobic. Maybe I do have a boyfriend so what? Not good enough for you just like your team wasn’t?
Every year that Kahuku played in the championship can be found on YouTube. There is no Championship game where it shows small numbers of fans on the Kahuku sideline. And how is my comment homophobic? By your posts I thought you were an upset Aunty looking for affection in a sporting blog.
You said my boyfriend as an insult it’s obvious. Don’t back pedal now. You obviously picky in who you think is worthy and the last 2 teams weren’t, just like I wouldn’t be if I were gay. Did you watch the games on YouTube and not live in person or on tv? If the “Red Sea” showed up then why would the commentators and kids be asking for the support? They would just know that you showing up.
I’m sorry if I upset you Aunty but you kinda slow.. So let me explain it to you.
Step 1. Get on your computer.
Step 2. Type in “Kahuku state championship game”.
Step 3. Look at the Kahuku side line when the camera pans there. You will see a packed Kahuku side.
Oh so now you think being a female is an insult. You must be a female hating gay male that projects his hate on others. Nothing wrong, dont be so angry. Get that hate out of your heart. I bet it will be an insult on my intelligence next. You one of the “fans” that never bother showing up to support. I was at the games I saw for myself not from the view of one camera. You just a hateful person and a fake fan. Best of luck to you in life.
If you been to the games how did you hear the commentators ask Kahuku fans to come out and support? Where you watching the game live and on tv at the same time? lol.. your a special kine kraazy Aunty. I’ve been to all the State championship games and I can tell you and you can see on YouTube that the Kahuku side was always full..
Yeah I was there in person and watched a re run on tv it’s not that hard. Plus the commentators and kids were asking for support at the end of the previous game. Does it make sense to do that after the last game of the year? Again, stop hating women. Keep your frustrations to your self
I guess I’m just going to have to take your word for it Aunty even though you can see myself and the thousands of cheering Kahuku fans on every media outlet known to this planet. If you say no one showed up to support our kids I guess it must be true in your krazzy mind….lol
@88 – My son played on the 2019 StL team…The crowds for Kahuku at the regular season game and the State Championship was very poor, low attendance. I’d estimate less than 2K on the Kahuku sideline. I was there also for the Tua and Chev state Champ games which were packed by Kahuku. Good luck to everyone.
You both love your teams and have unconditional belief in their achievements. But you both need to grow up. You behave like little children going back and forth. This is suppose to be about young men competing and enjoying the moment. This is a time to show their skills and relish in the moment. Let the boys play and support their effort regardless of the outcome. But always show respect to your opponent and act like winners. Having class and sportsmanship is something that needs to be engraved into these young men more than who scored the most points. I played high school football and there isn’t another sport that can compare to that feeling when you go to battle on the field. I hope they allow fans because the cheering and the school bands are missing currently.