For the second year in a row, the St. Louis Crusaders are state champions are defeating Kahuku in a non-stop roller coaster of a game, 31-28.
Yesterday at Aloha Stadium will go down as one of the most historic high school state championship days in history. Not only did Lahainaluna and Konawaena duke it out in seven overtime periods, but the action was only getting started from there.
Kahuku vs. St. Louis was everything and more. It was a shame one team had to lose. Both sides played with their hearts on their jersey sleeves. St. Louis fell behind early after Kahuku’s defense picked off Chevan Cordeiro in the first quarter, allowing quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava to toss a touchdown to Thorton Alapa.
It didn’t take long for the Crusaders to get back in the game as Cordeiro began to find a rhythm, linking up with Mitchell Quinn for an 11-yard touchdown, followed by a 95-yard highlight play to go up by two scores.
The game was starting to look like it was getting out of hand when the Crusaders intercepted Maiava and returned the pick for a score, but never count out the Red Raiders. In the fourth quarter, after Maiava picked up another touchdown in the final minutes of the third, Kahuku roared back, eventually taking the lead after Maiava found Kekaula Kaniho on a 53-yard bomb for a touchdown.
The game looked to be in the bag for Kahuku, as the Crusaders had the ball with less than a minute remaining in the game, down by four points.
But Cordeiro would not be denied as he threw up a prayer to Jonah Panoke, who wrestled the ball away from his defender to walk into the end zone.
St. Louis stole the game in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter in what was an incredible night of high school football.