Everyone knows the guy behind center. Junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the top college football recruit in the state for 2017 and is drawing comparisons already to another great Saint Louis QB, Marcus Mariota.
But when picking Saint Louis as the No. 2 team in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Preseason Top 10 poll, Tagovailoa isn’t the only reason why.
A revamped defense, as Nick Abramo wrote about in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, is the main reason voters see the Crusaders as the No. 1 threat to the defending state champion Mililani Trojans.
Saint Louis boasts a linebacker group that includes senior Jordan Iosefa, who has committed to USC, and junior Isaac Slade-Matautia, who along with Tagovailoa is ranked in Scout.com’s Top 300 prospects for 2017.
Konawaena transfer Luca Vartic is another addition to the Crusaders defense and will solidify a secondary that struggled last season.
In Saint Louis’ four losses, the Crusaders gave up 63 points twice, 55 and 35. Don’t expect to see that again this year.
Cal Lee admits it took a year to get familiar with the personnel he has at Saint Louis. The growing pains are over. Saint Louis is loaded with talent and ready to reclaim its status as the premier football program in the state. It’s been five years since the Crusaders last won (or even appeared) in the state tournament. The five years between ILH titles are the longest since 1980.
With the game this weekend against Mililani downgraded to a scrimmage, the Crusaders don’t officially open the season until hosting Liberty (Nev.) High at Aloha Stadium on Aug. 29. The wait to see Saint Louis play will be longer than for any other team, but it undoubtedly will be worth it.