The nation’s No. 12-ranked team looked every bit as dominant as a two-time state champion can be.
Saint Louis, the Star-Advertiser’s No. 1-ranked team, overpowered Waianae 69-6 on Friday night as the OIA-ILH alliance’s Open Division regular season opened.
Longtime coach Cal Lee was just a wee bit dissatisfied.
“We did a good job defensively. We moved the ball. For a first game, we still got a lot of work to do,” he said. “I’m looking for a perfect game. They scored a touchdown because 11 guys missed a tackle. You can’t be too excited about that.”
First-year starter Jayden de Laura was sensational in one half of play with 234 passing yards and three touchdowns on 9-for-12 accuracy.
“When I came to the sidelines, I knew I needed to get rid of the ball,” the junior said. “I felt comfortable. We work hard in practice, so everything comes easy.”
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Waianae received the opening kickoff and on second-and-16, Kevin Feagins picked off a Seariders pass and returned it 29 yards to the right pylon for the first score of the game.
Moments later, de Laura bailed out of a jam in the pocket, then sprinted to the left pylon and leaped into the end zone for a spectacular touchdown, his first TD as a Crusader. The Saints led 13-0 with 7:01 left in the first quarter and never slowed down in the first half.
Waianae’s second punt was fair caught at the Seariders 29. After a TV timeout, de Laura launched a pass down the right hashmark to a wide-open Chance Beyer for an easy 29-yard touchdown for a 20-0 lead with 4:55 left in first quarter.
Waianae’s fourth series was its best. After driving to the Saint Louis 17, Elijah Aken lined up for a 35-yard field goal, but it was a fake. Holder Chad Pule ran right, cut back twice and scored on a 17-yard run with 9:49 left in the first half.
Despite a dropped pass, de Laura needed only three plays to get the Crusaders back in the end zone. A 23-yard strike to Wynden Hoohuli was followed by a 48-yard bomb down the right sideline to Roman Wilson.
Later, de Laura got sacked for a 13-yard loss, but bounced back with completions of 37 and 33 yards before Kainalu Tumpap scored on a 1-yard run.
Waianae’s fourth punt was fair caught for a fourth time, all in Seariders territory. Again, on the first play of the series, de Laura looked down the sideline and rifled a bullet to the other seam. Koali Nishigaya, who beat his defender by 5 yards, hauled the pass in for a 35-yard touchdown. Saint Louis led 41-6 with 16 seconds left in the first half.
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