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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, November 24, 2001

Crusaders cruise to 49-7 victory over Kailua and into state final

 •  Red Raiders beat Waimea, 21-7, advance to third state title game

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

St. Louis did what Kailua wished it could do: run and stop the run.

St. Louis running back Prince Brown takes the high road into the end zone for a first-quarter touchdown against Kailua.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The second-ranked Crusaders dominated the third-ranked Surfriders, 49-7, in a semifinal of the Chevron State Football Tournament last night.

For the third consecutive year, top-ranked Kahuku (13-0) and St. Louis (10-0-1) will meet for the state championship. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Aloha Stadium.

Kahuku defeated Waimea, 21-7, in the earlier semifinal.

The series is even at 1. Kahuku beat St. Louis, 26-20, last year and St. Louis beat Kahuku, 19-0, in 1999. They also met five times in the O'ahu Prep Bowl, with the Crusaders winning each time.

"It's a privilege to get to the state playoffs and to get to the final," St. Louis coach Cal Lee said. "There are only two teams left for the challenge."

An Aloha Stadium crowd of 9,865 watched the Crusaders run at will against the Surfriders, amassing 447 yards in offense. Not surprisingly, the Crusaders had 241 through the air, but really knocked out the Surfriders (10-3) with 206 yards rushing.

St. Louis running backs Prince Brown, B.J. Batts and Justin Cabansag combined for 180 yards and the first three touchdowns of the game.

"We took what they gave us," Lee said. "They gave us the run and we took it."

The offensive line of center Howard Harbottle (6-0, 290), guards Troy Esera (6-1, 285) and Frank Fernandez (6-2, 275), and tackles Mesepa Reed (6-5, 237) and Jeremy Inferrera (6-3, 260) took out Kailua's front seven with straight dive and trap blocking.

After establishing the run, the Crusaders put the game away through the air.

Bobby George completed 8 of 12 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns, all to wideout Jason Rivers.

Not resting on their 35-7 halftime lead, the Crusaders scored on their first series, George's 47-yard TD pass to Rivers with 10:18 left in the third quarter. That touchdown started the running clock as the 35-point differential mercy rule took effect.

The early lead negated Kailua's vaunted rushing attack, which was limited to 32 yards. Brenton Harbottle, the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red's leading rushing, was limited to just five carries for negative two yards.

But even at the outset, St. Louis' defense had established dominance against the run. The Crusader linebackers were tight to the box, helping their linemen take control of the line of scrimmage.

"They were bringing up the linebackers," Kailua center Marques Kaonohi said. "There were too many guys for us to block. They're big and physical up front."

Kailua also was hurt by turnovers. It lost two fumbles and quarterback Taleki Mailau was intercepted twice. He also was sacked three times for negative 32 yards.

"We didn't play well at all," Kailua coach Darren Johnson said. "We made critical mistakes. (The Crusaders) deserved to win."

Kailua's only score came in the second quarter, 11 seconds after Brown's 16-yard TD run gave St. Louis a 21-0 lead. Mailau hit Kealii Kalahiki on a 65-yard pass on first down for the score.

But St. Louis scored on its next two possessions in taking a 35-7 lead at the half.

"This is hard," Kaonohi said. "We worked so hard for this."

Johnson saw the game as a step closer to his program's goal.

"We know to get to the dance, you have to beat St. Louis and Kahuku," Johnson said, "the two teams we struggled with this year."

Kahuku beat Kailua, 48-7, in the regular season.