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A Game For The Ages

Team+Captains+holding+the+Koa+Head+Trophy.
Team Captains holding the Koa Head Trophy.

Team Captains holding the Koa Head Trophy.

Team Captains holding the Koa Head Trophy.

Kainalu Reyes Hackney, Sports Writer

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As time expired in the early morning of November 18, at 1:04 A.M. the Saint Louis Crusaders were crowned with the title of State Champions once again. Arguably two of the best defenses and offenses in the state went toe to toe in a game that will go down as one of the greatest games in state tournament history. By securing the win, the Crusaders now have 5 state titles, and 19 total including prep bowls. This is also the ninth undefeated Saint Louis team in state history.

Crusaders led by Noa Purcell getting hyped before the game.

The Crusaders started off slowly, with an early pick on the second play of the game. This lead to a Kahuku touchdown, their only score in the first half. The ensuing drives by both teams ended in punts and Saint Louis had another shot to score. With a long methodical drive down the field, the Crusaders scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Senior Chevan Cordeiro to fellow classmate Mitchell Quinn. That first score would lead to another 17 unanswered points for the Crusaders. Several drives later the Crusaders capitalized on an all out blitz on Chevan who threw a 95-yard touchdown pass connecting with Quinn again for his second score of the night.

Before the half, Kahuku put together a solid drive deep into Crusader territory, but were stuffed on fourth down at the 5-yard line by Isaiah Feary and Lawaia Brown. The stop helped build the momentum for the Crusaders as they went into halftime. The first drive of the third quarter ended in a punt for Kahuku and an eventual field goal by the Jacob Tobias making the score 17-7. Two plays into the next kahuku possession  and things went the other way for them as Isaiah Tufaga snagged the ball out the air for a 40-yard interception return. This is where Kahuku’s comeback started.

The ensuing possession for Kahuku was a make a break or break drive, but with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Sol-Jay Maiava to Wes-Alo Maiava they were back in the game. The Crusaders next drive stalled and turned the ball over on fourth down which would lead to another score by the Red Raiders now making it a one-possession game. The Crusaders then marched down the field into the red zone but the Kahuku defense forced a fumble and would score on their next drive with a 59-yard touchdown pass to take their first lead since the first quarter. With 2:35 left in the game the Crusaders had another opportunity in the red zone, but a tipped pass led to an interception, which looked to be the end of the game. However Kahuku’s poor management of the clock forced them to punt with 54 seconds left in the game, giving the Crusaders one last opportunity, which was all they needed. The next play Chevan Cordeiro threw a bomb to Jonah Panoke who ripped the ball out a defenders hand and scored on a walk off 53-yard touchdown. Kahuku had one drive left to score, but with 2 seconds left to play, they went for it all and came up short in what was to many an instant classic.

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