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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, November 29, 2001

St. Louis-Kahuku III seen as virtual tossup

 •  Scouting report: Skill, speed vs. momentum, motivation
 •  Organizers expecting large crowd

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Perhaps there has never been a more even matchup in the St. Louis-Kahuku series in recent years.

The respective powers of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and the O'ahu Interscholastic Association will play for the third Chevron State Football Championship 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Aloha Stadium. The series is tied 1-1.

Before last year's 26-20 Kahuku victory halted St. Louis' 14-year reign of overall championships, St. Louis had always been the favorite. That happens when you have consistent success.

But Kahuku's breakthrough win and the road the teams have taken to get to the title game indicate this should be a competitive matchup.

The top-ranked Red Raiders (13-0) have a 22-game winning streak spanning two seasons; the second-ranked Crusaders (10-0-1) started slowly, but have won seven in a row.

The teams are regulars in the postseason. Before the state tournament, they met in five O'ahu Prep Bowls, with St. Louis winning each time. Since 1987, they have met three times in preseason with St. Louis sweeping.

Each has something to prove.

Kahuku wants to show that last year's win was not a fluke; St. Louis wants to show that it was.

Here's what to expect (with probable starting lineups):

When Kahuku has the ball

Kahuku Offense

No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr.

84 WR James Kammerer 6-3 184 Sr.
83 SB Moana Hafoka 5-11 180 Sr.
75 RT Kalavi Blanchard 6-4 290 Sr.
78 RG Suilasi Lautaha 6-0 290 Sr.
62 C Jeremy Perry 6-2 300 So.
60 LG Joseph Napeahi 6-2 315 Jr.
72 LT Semisi Kauvaka 6-3 320 Sr.
11 SB Ferron Fonoimoana 5-8 165 Sr.
18 WR Ben Chase 5-10 160 Sr.
15 QB Inoke Funaki 6-0 180 Sr.
28 TB Mulivai Pula 5-11 215 Sr.

St. Louis Defense

No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr.

87 DE Wilson Afoa 6-2 235 Jr.
42 DT John Siofele 6-0 255 Sr.
91 DT Kama McKeague 5-10 240 Sr.
94 DE Tolifili Liufau 6-3 290 Jr.
43 LB Kawai Curnan 5-10 205 Sr.
56 LB Taualai Fonoti 6-1 240 Sr.
24 M Timo Paepule 6-0 195 Jr.
27 DB Jonah Lakatani 5-6 145 Jr.
25 DB Chris Tunoa 5-10 180 Sr.
28 DB Chad Adviento 5-11 190 Sr.
6 DB Josh Gora-Aina 5-11 175 Sr.

The buzz: Last year, the Crusaders lost two 300-pound all-state interior linemen in the tournament because of the maximum participation rule; their two replacements weighed 234 and 250 pounds. Kahuku exploited the mismatch by running inside. "They (St. Louis linemen Lafaele Manupuna and Lyle Maiava) were run stoppers inside," St. Louis defensive coordinator Delbert Tengan said. "They kept the blockers off of our linebackers." This year's defensive tackles aren't much heavier, but they're more experienced. "For me, I feel a little bit better, more confident than last year," said John Siofele, who filled in last year at 234 pounds. ... Kahuku is more balanced this year than last, but is more of a running threat because of Mulivai Pula's speed, Earvin Atuaia's power and Inoke Funaki's finesse. It also uses the slotback counter with Ferron Fonoimoana. The Red Raiders employ a four-receiver set and a double tight end formation. They run a variety of plays off both. When they bring the tight ends in, Jonathan Mapu is usually one of them. Mapu's athleticism makes him doubly dangerous as a receiver. When the Red Raiders pass, it's usually to intermediate and short routes, using the speed of Fonoimoana and Moana Hafoka, and the 6-foot-3 James Kammerer. ... St. Louis uses a 4-2 defensive alignment with Timo Paepule serving as a rover or monster back. With linemen containing the blockers, the leading tacklers are linebackers Taualai Fonoti and Kawai Curnan and defensive back Jonah Lakatani. Defensive end Tolifili Liufau has size and quickness needed to contain Funaki. Paepule and defensive backs Lakatani, Chad Adviento and Chris Tunoa combined for 16 of the team's 20 interceptions. The secondary will be the best Kahuku has seen this season.

When St. Louis has the ball

Kahuku Defense

No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr.

99 DE Jonathan Mapu 6-3 250 Sr.
96 DT Tala Esera 6-3 245 Sr.
92 DT Tuika Tufaga 6-1 220 Sr.
91 DE Darrell Tachibana 6-2 200 Sr.
46 OLB Joshua Hodge 5-10 198 Sr.
44 MLB Ola Kubota 5-8 200 Jr.
43 OLB Sione Olevao 5-11 195 Sr.
27 CB George Perry 5-11 160 Jr.
9 S Viliami Nauahi 6-2 195 Sr.
7 S Sola Soliai 6-0 180 Sr.
5 CB Trumaine Oto 5-10 170 Jr.

St. Louis Offense

No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr.

80 WR Kainoa Fernandez 5-10 170 Sr.
4 SB Keahua Bowman 5-6 165 Sr.
77 OL Mesepa Reed 6-5 237 Sr.
75 OL Frank Fernandez 6-2 275 Jr.
74 C Howard Harbottle 6-0 290 Sr.
64 OL Troy Esera 6-1 285 Sr.
71 OL Jeremy Inferrera 6-3 260 Jr.
1 SB Ross Dickerson 5-11 175 Sr.
84 WR Jason Rivers 6-2 185 Jr
7 QB Bobby George 6-0 185 Jr.
32 RB Prince Brown 5-10 230 Sr.

The buzz: The Crusaders also use a four-receiver set and will exploit secondaries with short, intermediate and long passes. They like to stretch defenses in all directions. Wideouts Jason Rivers and Kainoa Fernandez are deep threats for Bobby George, who has a strong arm. St. Louis also employs a double tight end formation in short-yardage situations. The offensive line must recognize and pick up blitzes. Like Kahuku, St. Louis is a multi-dimensional threat. Running back Prince Brown provides power, B.J. Batts (5-7, 161) speed, and Justin Cabansag (5-8, 170) a little of both. Although the St. Louis philosophy is for the quarterback to hang in the pocket as long as possible to find a receiver, George showed an ability to run in St. Louis' last game with Kamehameha. He had a 21-yard gain, juking a defender in the process. So if forced from the pocket, George could be a threat. Ross Dickerson also is a running threat off the slotback counter, a staple from the double-slot. ... Kahuku showed a rare 5-3 alignment — a deliberate run-defense, like the way a nickel is a deliberate pass-defense — against run-oriented Waimea last week, but is expected to revert to the 4-3 against a more balanced Crusader offense. Kahuku will blitz from all directions, which will test George's recognition and response. The most similar defense that St. Louis faced was Kamehameha's, which is slightly smaller but just as agile. ... Kahuku has a tall and active secondary, led by Sola Soliai. The Red Raiders' front line is quick with ends Jonathan Mapu and Darrell Tachibana or Quinlinn Adolpho (6-1, 200).