Saint Louis with a ‘lesson’ in loss to national powerhouse Bishop Gorman

Practice in the afternoon at Bishop Gorman includes 108-degree heat during the afternoon. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser

Silver lining in the Silver State.

That’s how Ron Lee looks at it. That’s how his staff and players will have to move forward, as well, after a 42-21 loss to national powerhouse Bishop Gorman on Friday night at Fertitta Field. In the first official game for Saint Louis since November of 2019, the visiting Crusaders stayed close for a half. It was 14-all in the second quarter before the host Gaels opened a 21-14 lead at intermission.

After that, plenty of lessons, as Lee says, for future reference. The Crusaders get one last night of sleep in South Point, roughly 13 miles off the strip, before boarding their flight to Honolulu on Saturday morning.

“What a night. I really didn’t know what to expect,” Lee said after the game. “That was a good team. It was 14-14 and we let them escape. We didn’t make big plays.”

Lee’s normal routine is to scour film after games, whether it is on the same night or the following morning. This time, he said, he will get a lot of time to study film during the plane ride home.

“It was a good crowd, a good place to play. Their defensive line has great athletes and came after us. Their secondary was top caliber,” Lee said.

Kona Moore was part of a Saint Louis secondary that had some very good moments.

“Our pass defense did pretty good. When the ball was in the air, we didn’t fold too much. When things got bad, we lost communication on the field,” Moore noted. “Our coaches said, ‘Put this behind us and try to take the ILH, and control what we can control.'”

Lee saw a tough Gaels defense recover nearly every time the visitors had a slight opening downfield.

“Their offensive O-line is very solid, very good group up front. Their secondary could really cover. We had a few that we almost broke through, but they really could recover,” Lee said.

Long wait or not, the Crusaders and their coaches clearly hoped for more, even against the nation’s No. 12 team (MaxPreps).

“We have guys who haven’t really played. Most of our guys were underclassmen,” Lee said. “We didn’t have much (film) on (Bishop Gorman). Our offensive line was our experienced group, and we didn’t block well. The worst I’ve seen. We didn’t execute our rules. (Bishop Gorman defensive coordinator and former Hawaii defensive lineman) Chris Brown had a great defensive plan and they executed.”

Saint Louis helped its host by dropping balls, missing assignments on routes, Lee said.

“This is a gauge of where we’re at, and how we pick ourselves up for the next game,” he noted. “It was really tough to travel, taking the tests, staying away from crowds.”

Despite the inconveniences, Lee would have it no other way. The dream of playing top-ranked opponents two, three or even four times in one season is getting closer to reality. For now, though, Punahou awaits in two weeks as the Open Division teams of the ILH. A three-touchdown loss to one of the nation’s top teams gives the Crusader staff plenty of teaching points at practice for a long time to come.

“Now we know where we’re at. We’ll look at film, fix the mistakes. We got outcoached and just weren’t ready. Now we’ll move kids around get them to the right place,” Lee said. “We’ve got to learn to step up. We’ve got to meet the challenge. The kids had a good, good lesson on how to play the good teams. Now, Punahou and Kamehameha are really good challenges.”

There will be growth for all units at Kalaepohaku over time. Moore noted that Gorman quarterback , a former standout with the Ewa Beach Sabers JPS program, didn’t have to make every big play.

“No. 1 (Zachariah Branch) is a good runner. The little running back (Cam Barfield) could take it to the house,” Lee said.

Barfield scored five touchdowns as the Gaels maximized his versatility. Moore had an apt comparison.

“He’s kind of like a Saquan Barkley,” Moore said.

For Lee, Moore and the rest of the team, now is what matters.

“Bishop Gorman, they’re honestly really good. We have a lot of work to put in, a lot of things to fix,” Moore said.

There will be time — ILH Open Division teams will have a number of bye weekends as four game dates await.

After returning to Honolulu, the Crusaders will get tested, which is a requirement of any student at Saint Louis’ campus.


  1. ILH August 21, 2021 9:49 am

    Anytime Saint Louis loses it only makes them better and better the next time, the coaches are that good at Saint Louis and they will be the power in Hawaii football under the direction of the Lee brothers, Ron and Cal.

  2. 2ndstring August 21, 2021 11:57 am

    Was at the game and witnessed the difference in speed. Gorman has 4 top DBs all 4 star rated or higher. They were able to play man coverage and bring 5 sometimes 6 on every plan. The oline couldn’t handle and AJ took a lot of shots. He’s a tough kid. Gorman’s RB is a straight up stud. I agree that the Lee’s will look at film and Saints will be better going forward. Saints had a freshman RB and multiple freshman and sophomores on defense. The future is bright for the brotherhood. I also think Punahou and Kamehameha will be much improved this year so the ILH will be very competitive. Hoping hammers like Kahuku and Mililani have a chance to play ILH too cause they are stacked. Good luck to all the Hawaii schools this year!

  3. We August 21, 2021 3:46 pm

    Thanks for Repping Hawaii well. Not the outcome we hoped for but you win or you learn.

  4. Brotherhood August 24, 2021 3:36 am

    Saint Louis did the best they could. You cannot expect 5 lineman to block 6 sometimes 7 guys. They needed another blocker (rb) and a different game plan to get rid of the ball quicker. With a line like that…they should be running a solid true run game. No adjustments, no answers in the 2nd half. Smh

  5. NEXT MAN UP. August 24, 2021 12:47 pm

    It is good to see that Hawaii was well represented on the mainland both at the high school football level and at our little league word series. It is so unfortunate that Mililani did not get the opportunity as well. According to the CDC this pandemic may take us through mid to late 2022> If that is the case I just hope the powers to be are already making preparations for all high school and college sports in Hawaii how they plan on addressing this situation should the CDC proves to be correct. Based on past performance our powers to be have not done very well in addressing this pandemic. Start planning now already and start putting your hurricane(pandemic) kit in place.

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