Defending Florida 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas ended Saint Louis’ 38-game winning streak with a 35-19 victory in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series on Saturday at Fertitta Field in Las Vegas.
Three Raiders rushed for touchdowns as St. Thomas Aquinas (15-0), which won its state title eight days earlier, shut out the Crusaders (12-1) in the second half.
Saint Louis hadn’t played since beating Kahuku 45-6 to win its fourth consecutive Open Division state championship in Hawaii on Nov. 29.
Crusaders quarterback Jayden de Laura, who signed with Washington State on Wednesday, finished 27-for-47 for 273 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another score but turned the ball over four times.
Koali Nishigaya had 11 catches for 84 yards and a touchdown and Isaac Silva added 10 receptions for 85 yards to lead Saint Louis, which hadn’t lost since a 33-20 defeat against Punahou in September 2016.
The Raiders forced a Saint Louis fumble on the first play from scrimmage and scored on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Zion Turner to Antonio Johnson on the next play.
Saint Louis settled down and took a 13-7 lead after de Laura threw touchdown passes to Roman Wilson and Nishigaya.
De Laura scored on a 22-yard run late in the first half to cut the deficit to 21-19, but the Crusaders were stopped going for a 2-point conversion to tie the game.
Saint Louis didn’t score over the final 25:43.
The Crusaders played their first game off island in 20 years.
Nick Herbig blocked a punt and had three sacks to lead the Saint Louis defense. The Crusaders were ranked No. 6 in the nation in the USA Today Super 25. St. Thomas Aquinas was No. 3.