Unbeatens play for ILH lead
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Eyes will be locked on St. Louis quarterback Bobby George and Kamehameha running back Kelena Ho'okano when their teams meet in Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I football tomorrow night.
But the focus should be on the line of scrimmage. Timing is a factor on offense both teams have been relatively inactive because of byes so it's the players in the trenches who might make the difference.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Aloha Stadium for the second-ranked Crusaders (1-0 ILH, 3-0 overall) and the third-ranked Warriors (1-0, 4-0).
The Warriors' offensive line's brute strength enabled Ho'okano to rush for 121 yards and three touchdowns in a 26-7 win over Punahou Saturday. St. Louis coach Cal Lee was impressed with center Reyn Kaupiko, guards Kaea Simeona and Enoka Lucas and tackles P.J. Willing and Kekoa Vincent.
"They were working like veterans," Lee said.
St. Louis' front seven defensive linemen Tolifili Liufau, Isaia Robins and John Siofele, and linebackers Taualai Fonoti, Kawai Curnan and Timo Paepule will challenge the Warriors' offensive front.
"We need to make sure we can take care of things we have control over," Kamehameha coach Kanani Souza said. "We have to establish our run. Wherever we can find a place to gain yardage, that's where we'll go. But nobody runs on St. Louis really successful."
Likewise, St. Louis' run-and-shoot offense must deal with Kamehameha's active defensive front seven. Linemen Brandon Ala, Abu Ma'afala, Nikolas Soo and J.P. Kennedy have linebacker agility, which came in handy in containing Punahou quarterback Todd LaFountaine. So St. Louis' line of center Howard Harbottle, guards Frank Fernandez and Troy Esera and tackles Mesepa Reed and Jeremy Inferrera have to be quick-footed, too, to keep the Warriors off George.
Like Kamehameha, St. Louis struggled with Punahou at the outset before holding off the Buffanblu. But the Crusaders' problem was six turnovers, including four interceptions by George.
"Turnovers are key in a game like this," Lee said. "We have to take care of the ball."
Both teams have not been tested much because the revised schedule includes three bye weeks. This is only the second regular season game for each team.
"We've only had one look (at St. Louis) against Punahou," Souza said. "We looked at San Clemente (in non-league action on Aug. 25), but that was so long ago."
Lee found a positive spin to the inactivity.
"(Our players) are anxious," he said. "That's the big key. They're anxious to play."