The season isn’t over quite yet for four-time Hawaii state champion Saint Louis.
The Crusaders will be playing in the Geico State Champions Bowl Series on either Dec. 21 or 22 in Las Vegas against an opponent who has yet to be determined.
Glenn Medeiros, the school president, is excited that the Crusaders are getting the opportunity.
“Our plan is to go, and we as a team, we’ve gotten together and we’re having our final conversations (with organizers) this morning,” Medeiros said. “We didn’t know (until Friday night) for sure that we were going to win the state championship.”
Saint Louis completed a 12-0 season, winning their 38th game in a row, 45-6 over Kahuku on Friday at Aloha Stadium in the Open Division final of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships. It was the Crusaders’ fourth title in a row.
The bowl will be paying a lot of the team’s expenses although specifics are still being worked out.
The Crusaders will be one of four teams in the bowl series as part of a doubleheader broadcast on ESPNU. The other teams — three more state champions — are unknown at this point, although multiple sources have confirmed the Crusaders’ likely opponent is St. Thomas Aquinas, a school in Florida. The Raiders haven’t finished their season yet. They play for the Florida 7A state title on Dec. 14.
“I think their hope is to get the four best teams (in the nation) together,” Medeiros said.
The Crusaders are ranked No. 7 in both the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and USA Today Super 25 this week, falling one spot from No. 6. St. Thomas Aquinas is ranked No. 2 by USA Today and No. 5 by MaxPreps.
Saint Louis nearly played in the same bowl series a year ago before deciding against it.
“Last year was a team decision made between the coaches and myself to not go,” Medeiros said. “There were some that were happy and others who were not. In this particular case (this year), we’ve had a chance to talk about it in detail for a long time. We feel the best thing to do this year is to actually go.”
Medeiros is not sure how many Saint Louis athletes will be going. Some may have other commitments. Others may be injured.
“We do think this is going to be a great opportunity for the students and I’m looking forward to being a part of it,” he said. “I’ve always believed that traveling is a good thing for kids from Hawaii, so you can see the outside world and see what it’s like. So many of our kids don’t have a chance to do that.”
Jordan Botelho, the Saint Louis linebacker and Notre Dame commit who will be playing in the All-American Bowl on Jan. 4, said during his All-American Bowl jersey presentation at the school Monday: “We have one more game left and we’re going to win that one, too.”