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Let celebration begin, Saint Louis gains final

Paul Honda
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Duke Bukoski of Saint Louis was stopped short of the end zone by Leilehua's Stockton Crowley last night.

Birthdays are especially fun this weekend in the Arceneaux household.

Saint Louis coach Darnell Arceneaux, wife Nicole and daughter Elle had birthdays this week, but no time to celebrate, especially with his busy schedule. They’ll celebrate later with a little gusto following a 42-28 win over Leilehua last night in the semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I State Football Championships.

"I’m proud of our composure. That’s what the state playoffs are about. Leilehua came to fight," said Arceneaux, who led Saint Louis to a state final in his previous one-year stint back in 2003. "We’re going to celebrate our birthdays (today)."

Saint Louis (10-1), the second seed, will meet Waianae for the crown next Friday at Aloha Stadium. Saint Louis hasn’t won the state title since 2002. Waianae has never won a state tourney.

For now, the Crusaders can celebrate a big win over one of the top offensive units in the state. Kalei Auelua helped spark the defense with three of his team’s seven sacks.

Marcus Mariota was 17-for-19 for 349 yards with two touchdowns and one pick. He also rushed for 49 yards and another score as Saint Louis’ balanced offense kept the Mules’ attack on the sideline.

"Coach D lets me take it one play at a time, getting the ball out to our receivers and letting them do their work," Mariota said. "It feels great. We’ve been working so hard for this. It’s been a dream of ours, guys who have been here since seventh grade."

Three of his receivers had at least 90 yards in receptions. Duke Bukoski had four catches for 103 yards with a touchdown, Joshua Tupua added three hauls for 113 yards and sophomore Jeremy Tabuyo had three catches for 90 yards and a score.

Leilehua quarterback Kenan Sadanaga had another 400-yard passing game, completing 38 of 58 attempts for 420 yards and four touchdowns. Fred Padrones had 14 catches for 145 yards and Darrien Shealy had nine catches for 142. Sadanaga, a junior, was picked off three times, however, as the Mules (8-4) trailed by as many as 28 points.

The Crusaders ran 31 times for 149 yards, including 49 by Keanu Mook-Garcia. Derek Nakasato scored two touchdowns.

"Ball security was a key for us. Whoever won the turnover battle was going to win," Nakasato said.

The teams combined for 891 total yards: 498 by Saint Louis and 393 by Leilehua.

Saint Louis might be the only team that made a swift squad like Leilehua look a half-step slower. The Crusaders swarmed defensively, sacking Sadanaga four times in the first half.

Offensively, Mariota’s mastery was on display. The Oregon-bound quarterback completed all but one of his 12 pass attempts before intermission. His 14-yard scoring strike to Bukoski capped a dizzying no-huddle drive to open the game.

The rust showed — a pair of illegal procedure calls started the next series before Mariota found Tupua for a 46-yard pass. On the next play, they lined up in a double-tight-end set and Mariota raced around right end on a 20-yard bootleg to paydirt, and the lead was 14-0 with 6:35 to go in the opening quarter.

Leilehua’s defense showed some resistance with a third-down sack by Matai Tuaato and an interception by Russell Siavii, but the Mules struggled offensively.

Another huge pass play from Mariota to Tupua, this one for 44 yards, set up a 7-yard scoring run by Mook-Garcia to give the Crusaders a 21-0 lead with 8:42 remaining in the first half.

The Mules got on the scoreboard after Sadanaga hit five of six passes, including a 33-yard gain to Jeremiah Andrade on a seam route deep over the middle. Padrones’ 3-yard touchdown catch brought Leilehua within 21-7 with 5:54 left in the half.

Saint Louis responded with a 47-yard kickoff return by Kaeo Aliviado and a 45-yard toss from Mariota to Tabuyo. Nakasato’s 1-yard run stretched Saint Louis’ lead to three touchdowns with 4:49 to go in the half.




At Aloha Stadium

Leilehua (9-3) 0 14 7 7 28
Saint Louis (11-0) 14 21 7 0 42

StL–Duke Bukoski 14 pass from Marcus Mariota (Aaron Goo kick)
StL–Mariota 20 run (Goo kick)
StL–Keanu Mook-Garcia 7 run (Goo kick)
Lei–Fred Padrones 3 pass from Kenan Sadanaga (Tim Momiyama kick)
StL–Derek Nakasato 1 run (Goo kick)
Lei–Padrones 20 pass from Sadanaga (Momiyama kick)
StL–Nakasato 1 run (Goo kick)
StL–Jeremy Tabuyo 40 pass from Mariota (Goo kick)
Lei–Darrien Shealy 64 pass from Sadanaga (Momiyama kick)
Lei–Padrones 25 pass from Sadanaga (Momiyama kick)

RUSHING–Lei: Allen Racette 9-26, Matai Tuaato 2-6, Jeremiah Andrade 1-(minus 1), Sadanaga 8-(minus 58). StL: Mook-Garcia 9-49, Mariota 9-49, Nakasato 11-39, Elijah McShane 2-12.

PASSING–Lei: Sadanaga 38-58-3-420. StL: Mariota 17-19-1-349.

RECEIVING–Lei: Padrones 14-145, Shealy 9-142, Andrade 6-90, Racette 5-10, Nick Rodriguez 2-13, Stan Mersburgh 1-10, Samson Zimmerman 1-10. StL: Kaeo Aliviado 5-32, Bukoski 4-103, Joshua Tupua 3-113, Tabuyo 3-90, Mook-Garcia 1-7, Taylor Troy 1-4.


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