Saint Louis hoping to put losses behind them ahead of ILH showdown against Punahou

Sports

After going on a 38-game winning streak that spanned from 2016 to 2019, the Saint Louis football team enters its first ILH game on a two-game losing streak.

The Crusaders, who have played their two most recent games in Las Vegas, have lost to Florida’s St. Thomas Aquinas and Nevada’s Bishop Gorman during that span.

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In spite of the losing streak, Saint Louis still reigns supreme in Hawaii. The Crusaders have won 35 straight games against in-state teams, including four straight HHSAA Open Division championships.

On Friday, the Crusaders will take on Punahou at Aloha Stadium in a 7:30 p.m. showdown. The Buffanblu (1-0) were the last team from Hawaii to beat the Crusaders, doing so on Sept. 29, 2016.

No other team in Hawaii put Saint Louis’ streak in jeopardy quite like Punahou in 2019, as the Crusaders escaped with two one-possession victories.

“Our battles are always tough,” Saint Louis cornerback Kama Moore said. “It’s always going to be won mentally so we need to make sure that we’re good there and then just play together.”

The Crusaders have put their season-opening loss to Bishop Gorman behind them and are eager to show that they’re still the team to beat in Hawaii.

“It’s been a little sluggish at first but we’re starting to pick it back up, trying to make sure that everybody’s heads are up and that we keep a positive mindset because we still have a lot more games this season,” Moore said.

Saint Louis will have its hands full with Punahou junior quarterback John Keawe Sagapolutele, who completed 64 percent of his passes for 382 yards, no interceptions and three touchdowns in a win against Kamehameha last week.

“We’re going to have to play assignment type football. Control our rush, play our zones on defense because they got some really good receivers. They spread you out and he can run. He’s got a great arm, he’s very accurate, so yes, our defense really has their work cut out for them,” Saint Louis head coach Ron Lee said. “I think they’re very explosive so we’re going to have to play smart, aggressive football.”

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