Waimea on crusade

HONOLULU – The St. Louis Crusaders’ motto for the season is “Bring it Back,” referring to the State title they haven’t won since 1999.

So naturally, the Waimea Menehune head to Honolulu this week with a motto of their own: “Keep it Away.”

The Menehune will try to upset the Crusaders at Aloha Stadium Friday in the semifinals of the 2002 Chevron State Football Championships.

“There is a lot of tradition at that school, they have a very good football program,” Waimea head coach Jon Kobayashi said of the Crusaders, who won an unprecedented 17 consecutive Interscholastic League of Honolulu titles. “We need to continue to play tough football and limit mistakes against this kind of team. We are going to have to step it up again.”

Waimea (8-1) is coming off a high after eliminating the Kailua Surfriders, 24-21, in an emotional quarterfinal matchup at Vidinha Stadium.

Kobayashi said the Crusaders are not much different from the Surfriders in that they both harbor potent offenses and lead their respective leagues in lowest yards allowed on defense.

The only difference? St. Louis doesn’t turn the ball over as often.

“Kailua has the same kind of offense as St. Louis, except St. Louis makes less mistakes,” said Kobayashi.

Kailua committed seven turnovers in its loss to Castle in the OIA championship game and then seven more in its recent loss to Waimea.

St. Louis, ranked No. 1 in the State in Advertiser and HSN polls, ousted Farrington 41-23 last week to reach the semifinals for the fourth time in as many years. The only other team to do that is Waimea. The Menehune have yet to advance past the semifinal round.

The Crusaders lost the State Championship to Kahuku the past two years. They beat the Red Raiders 19-0 in the first ever Statewide Championship in 1999.

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