Victory begins in the trenches for Saint Louis’ stonewalling defense

Kahuku quarterback Tiger Adolpho (19) couldn't get away from Saint Louis defensive linemen Anthony Sagapolutele (90), left, and Stanley McKenzie (94), who have been a big part of the Crusaders' defense all season. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

The question is more theory when defense face Saint Louis.

How can anyone keep Saint Louis’ high-powered offense from scoring? Take one weapon away, and the Crusaders find another way to exploit the weakness. Sometimes, the best defense is an offense, one that can slow the game down. Lower the possession counts. Keep quarterback Jayden de Laura and his offensive teammates on the sideline.

Nationally-ranked Bishop Gorman tried. The Gaels finished with 98 yards on 21 rushing attempts in a 31-19 loss to the Crusaders.

Mililani tried. During the regular season, the Trojans led 14-13 after one quarter before falling to the top-ranked Crusaders 54-21. With one of its finest defensive units ever, Mililani limited Saint Louis to 3 rushing yards on 20 carries and de Laura finished with just 18 pass attempts.

The blueprint had elements of success, but de Laura was simply opportunistic through the air with 378 yards. Five of his 11 completions were for touchdowns. Slotback Koali Nishigaya had a breakout night with five receptions for 263 yards and two scores.

When Mililani (8-4) and Saint Louis (10-0) meet in the semifinals in the Open Division of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Open Division State Championships on Friday, there could be new wrinkles by the defense. Ideally, though, the Trojans might prefer to use their offense as a defensive tool. Churn out long drives. Control the ball. Tilt field position. Avoid turnovers. Win the battle for hidden yardage on special teams.

That probably doesn’t happen, however, unless they can move the ball consistently against Saint Louis’ defensive front of Darrell Masaniai (6-2, 210), Stanley McKenzie (6-2, 280) and Anthony Sagapolutele (6-0, 234, Jr.). Masaniai has offers from Army, Hawaii, Navy and UNLV.

“They’ll throw the ball, but they really catch teams off balance with their run game. They have a really good O-line and two good running backs. We want to take away their run game and make them one-dimensional,” said McKenzie, who is committed to Cal.

Mililani running backs Malosi Sam, a transfer from Saint Louis, and Jasiah Alcover combined for 111 yards on 27 carries in the first matchup. Sam had 16 carries for 72 yards and Alcover tallied 39 yards on 11 attempts. Saint Louis created problems in the pocket, however, as Mililani quarterback Brendyn Agbayani was taken down several times and finished with minus-48 rushing yards. As a whole, the Trojans finished with minus-41 yards of rushing offense.

“It’s all based off what we read, what we see,” said Sagapolutele, a junior. “Taking what the O-linemen give us and keeping them as honest as possible.”

The trio in the trenches provide the push at the point of contact, and key reserves provide consistency from start to finish. It is one of the biggest differences in the program over the past four seasons — building up depth at D-line.

“I think (Tana) Alualu is one. Syrrus Kang. Kalepo (Fiaseu). I think those guys really fit in, but nobody knows who they are,” Saint Louis coach Cal Lee said. “They are team players. They do whatever you ask. They just want an opportunity and when it comes, they perform. We’re very fortunate.”

McKenzie won’t be surprised if Mililani has new adjustments.

“They’ve had a month to get ready. They could use a heavy package,” he said.


  1. All facts November 20, 2019 9:50 pm

    I know how to stop st louis, make them play mater dei.
    70-0 mater dei easy

  2. Hater Finder November 21, 2019 4:26 am

    Hi Hater Lol 😂

  3. All fiction November 21, 2019 7:11 am

    Yeah all facts…🤫🤫👆🏼Haterade

  4. Shaking November 21, 2019 7:34 am

    That QB playing chasing master right now. Se protect the ball.

  5. Falcon Future November 21, 2019 8:00 am

    Soooo … what ever happened to the case of the two all-star linebackers who so-called “assaulted” somebody from another school? When it first happened, people were coming on here talking about a police investigation and the two linebackers could be arrested as adults and they could lose college scholarship. Other people were saying it was the other guy’s fault, and so there would be no charges and that’s the end of the story.

    Now … crickets. Maybe it is the end of the story and was a lot of fluff over nothing.

  6. Hau’ulaBoy November 21, 2019 8:27 am

    That should have never been a story. Social media at its finest.

  7. 96730to89 November 21, 2019 8:38 am

    Gotta love the troll job to get other readers upset. Sounds like Skip Bayless.

  8. 88 November 21, 2019 8:39 am

    Falcon Future this is what happened : besides $$$$, High School Football means more than anything here in Hawaii. You know the right people and things go away.

  9. ILoveHawaii November 21, 2019 9:29 am


    No fluff. It happened.
    I am sure that it will be handled quietly and out of the eye of the media.

    I have to agree with 88 on this one. You can let this one die until it comes back up. Or they mob somebody again.

  10. The Truth Shall Set You Free November 21, 2019 12:12 pm

    Jordan Botelho punch out vs. Kamehameha student.

    Can’t believe this even aired AFTER night of brawl..LMAO

  11. Ilh November 21, 2019 12:25 pm

    Crusaders at full strength this Friday, ready to ROLL

  12. ILoveHawaii November 21, 2019 1:00 pm



    Add in 5 more guys punching and kicking that thing at the same time and you just recreated that night at the Blaisdell.

    Not sure if anyone pointed this out earlier, but, if you see your boy catching cracks, you jump in no matter what, and sort it out later. From what Ive heard the Hawaiians was eating POPCORN. Wassup with that?


  13. The Truth Shall Set You Free November 21, 2019 1:14 pm

    @12..Botelho’s comment after punch out “I’m a lover not a fighter….choose love”. Classic.

  14. HailFromDaNorth November 21, 2019 2:35 pm

    Let’s get ready baby!! May the best team win. The hell with all the dramas. This and that! Let the best team win. All in all to me having Saint Louis ranked at #6 brings spotlight to the whole 808. Coaches look at Hawaii even more so, and when they looking at Saint Louis they ain’t only looking at Saint Louis, all the teams some what get exposer. Hawaii boys keep balling out! But I got stick with my team RED RAIDERS FOR LYFE! #Heaweko

  15. ILoveHawaii November 21, 2019 3:05 pm

    Three teams in the MaxPreps top 25.

    Lulu- #4
    Puns- #17
    RR’s- #24

    Awesome sauce.
    EXPOSURE for the entire 808.
    Chee to da huuu.

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