HONOLULU – For the third time in as many appearances, Waimea has struggled amid the vastness of Aloha Stadium.
The Menehune were eliminated from the Chevron State Football Championships Friday after losing to St. Louis 51-0 in the semifinals on Oahu.
Waimea (8-2), the only team other than St. Louis to have played in all four State championships, have lost all three semifinal appearances and have yet to win a game at Aloha Stadium.
The Crusaders (10-2), feeling comfortable in their home at Aloha Stadium, looked like a college team against the Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation champions.
St. Louis forced eight turnovers, six of which turned into touchdowns. They held Waimea to just 99 total yards of offense. All Star running back Jordon Dizon rushed for 41 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Jon Palacio threw for 55 yards and was picked off 4 times.
St. Louis, the 2002 ILH champions, heads to the State finals for the fourth straight time. The program, which has garnered 17-straight ILH championships, won the State title in 1999 and lost to Kahuku twice, in 2000 and 2001.
They will face the winner of the McKinley and Castle game, which took place last night at 8 p.m. at Aloha Stadium. The game had not ended before press time.
Against the Menehune, the Crusaders looked destined for a second State Championship.
They scored 23 points in the first quarter and 44 points in the half.
Pono Vierra returned the Crusaders’ initial punt-return 44-yards for their first score. St. Louis quarterback Bobby George followed a Menehune interception with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Shane Butcher. And after a Waimea fumble, Kaleo Adams kicked a 30-yard field goal to give the Crusaders a 17-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
The Crusaders finished the quarter with a 1-yard rushing TD by Justin Cabansag, and a 12 play, 99-yard drive ended in a 3-yard TD run by B.J. Batts to open the second quarter.
A third Menehune turnover led to Batts’ second TD run, a 9-yard dash to put St. Louis up 37-0. And a Vierra interception moments later led to Cabansag’s second TD run of 2-yards.
At halftime, the Crusaders led 44-0. They would only score once more, on the second of four Menehune fumbles. Tani Nahalea returned that fumble 16-yards for St. Louis’ sixth touchdown.