Punahou, Saint Louis meet Saturday in winner-take-all playoff - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Punahou, Saint Louis meet Saturday in winner-take-all playoff

St. Louis quarterback Tua Tagovailoa warms up before a 2015 game at Aloha Stadium. St. Louis quarterback Tua Tagovailoa warms up before a 2015 game at Aloha Stadium.
Punahou, St. Louis face off Friday in match-up of ILH unbeatens. Punahou, St. Louis face off Friday in match-up of ILH unbeatens.
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

For the third time in fewer than thirty days, two of the state's top-ranked football teams will meet under the lights of Aloha Stadium on Saturday.

This time, the only thing bigger than the hype? Is what's at stake.

"It's something that I'm sure they're looking forward to, and hopefully we can put up a lot of effort," said Saint Louis head football coach Cal Lee.

When Punahou and Saint Louis met for the first time this season, back on September 25, running back Wayne Taulapapa scored for touchdowns in a 51-45 double-overtime victory for the Buffanblu.

Last Saturday, it was the Crusaders turn to return home as victors, despite having trailed in that game by two touchdowns in the first quarter. The Crusader victory snapped an 8-game winning streak for the Buffanblu, though Punahou's players know ILH teams never have to wait long for a shot at redemption.

"It's rough to lose a game like that," said Punahou special teams ace John "Jet" Toner. "But you could see it in the guys' eyes. They were ready to come back the next week, and everyone knew what we had to do."

What we have now can be best described as the rubber match. Like the rest of his teammates, Crusader offensive lineman Nate Herbig knows what's at stake Saturday night: the winner takes home both the ILH Championship and a berth in the state tournament...

"But right now, I don't think anyone is really thinking about that," Herbig said. "We just really want to beat Punahou, you know?"

His opponents, from down Dole Street in Manoa, share similar sentiments.

"You know, when your back is against the wall, it's time to put up or shut up," said Punahou head football coach Kale Ane. "And right now we want to prepare and put up the best effort that we can."

Put up, or shut up. We'll find out which on Saturday night, with kick-off set for 7 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.

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