WAILUKU - The Baldwin High School football team started a new chapter Saturday, and learned a lesson doing it.
Playing without three-time Maui Interscholastic League Offensive Player of the Year Keelan Ewaliko, four-star linebacker Jordan Hoiem and coach A.J. Roloos, the Bears lost 55-0 to Saint Louis in front of about 1,000 fans at War Memorial Stadium.
Ewaliko now plays for the University of Hawaii and his successor at quarterback, sophomore Jonovin-Taje Akaka-Foster, was under pressure all night from the formidable defensive line of the Crusaders, ranked third in the state by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Baldwin High School’s Dusty Flores tries to fend off Saint Louis’ Jaisen Sanchez while carrying the ball during the Crusaders’ 55-0 victory over the Bears on Saturday in a nonleague game at War Memorial Stadium.
HOKU KRUEGER photo
Baldwin’s Jonovan-Taje Akaka-Foster looks for running room as Saint Louis’ Ikaika Paaoa closes in.
HOKU KRUEGER photo
The Bears’ Benjamin Wuthrich is unable to make a jumping catch.
HOKU KRUEGER photo
Akaka-Foster finished 11-for-23 passing for 125 yards with an interception, returned 30 yards for a touchdown by Jaisen Sanchez.
"Anytime you have a No. 3 ranking, that's the real deal," said Keneke Pacheco, who took over for Roloos when the former Baldwin coach resigned last month after leading the Bears to six straight MIL titles. "That first drive was a nice drive, we had a couple other nice little plays, but this is a work in progress. I liked what I saw from my guys. I'm proud of them."
Teva Eldridge, a standout linebacker, played tight end for the first time in his Baldwin career and caught four passes for 31 yards. Fellow senior Kawela Kaeo-Mata had five receptions for 67 yards.
Eldridge is stepping into the linebacker void created after Hoiem retired from football last month with five NCAA Division I scholarship offers on the table.
"We had a couple missed opportunities," Eldridge said after playing nearly every snap. "I think our defense did all right, but we just have to correct our mistakes and come back on Monday and prepare for our next game. We just have to do what's best for our team."
The Bears showed promise on their second possession, marching 77 yards in 12 plays before Benjamin Wuthrich missed a 29-yard field goal with the Crusaders leading 7-0.
Baldwin would cross midfield only one more time.
The Bears had 19 players in street clothes for different reasons - academic casualties, without the mandated 10 practices or injured - on a roster of 62, while the Crusaders dressed 74 players.
The Bears could not stop the combination of junior quarterback Ryder Kuhns and senior receiver Devan Stubblefield, who has a scholarship offer from UH.
Kuhns connected on his first nine passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns - he left the game after his first incompletion early in the second quarter with the score 34-0. Stubblefield had five catches for 133 yards and touchdowns of 36, 32 and 22 yards - he left in the third quarter after catching his final score from backup Colton Nascimento to put Saint Louis in front 48-0.
The Crusaders lost the ball on their first possession when Adam Noga ran 24 yards before fumbling into and out of the end zone. That was the last real trouble for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu power.
Baldwin went three-and-out and Saint Louis took over on the Bears' 38-yard line after a 19-yard punt. Two plays later, Kuhns hit Stubblefield for a 36-yard touchdown on a diving catch in the end zone. Five minutes after that, Kuhns connected with Stubblefield for a 32-yard score to make it 14-0.
The Crusaders finished with 503 yards of offense - 393 in the first half. The Bears gained 129 yards, all but 16 in the first two quarters.
"Our defense, we did OK," Eldridge said. "We were in the right spots, but we just weren't executing our plays. We just have to work on completing every play."
Second-year Saint Louis coach Matt Wright's team will play defending Division I state champion Kahuku next Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
"We still have a long way to go, we need to work on executing at a higher level," Wright said. "It's the first step and now it's time to get ready for Kahuku."
Wright said he saw promise for the Bears.
"I feel for Baldwin, Baldwin is going through a lot," he said. "I know that for these young men to come out and even play football is something special."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Saint Louis ..... 28 ..... 13 ..... 7 ..... 7-55
Baldwin ............ 0 ....... 0 ..... 0 ....... 0-0
StL-Devan Stubblefield 36 pass from Ryder Kuhns (Matthew Mariota kick), 9:52.
StL-Stubblefield 32 pass from Kuhns (Mariota kick), 4:30.
StL-Jordan Eugenio 49 pass from Kuhns (Mariota kick), 2:23.
StL-Jaisen Sanchez 30 interception return (Mariota kick), 1:05.
StL-Adam Noga 3 run (kick failed), 6:52.
StL-Stubblefield 22 pass from Colton Nascimento (Mariota kick), 3:43.
StL-Javin Spears 11 pass from Nascimento (Chris Quinn kick), 7:13.
StL-Raymond Caayon 46 run (Quinn kick), 9:06.
RUSHING-StL, Noga 10-86, Raymond Caayon 3-50, Kamalani Spears 1-25, Kaulana Vinoya 4-18, Jonathon Manalo 3-15, Kuhns 1-(minus 2); Bald, Dusty Flores 14-27, Keenan Luis 4-7, Micah Pagaduan 3-5, Jonovan-Taje Akaka-Foster 8-(minus 3), Kawelu Kaeo-Mata 1-(minus 8), team 2-(minus 24).
PASSING-StL, Kuhns 9-10-0-207, Nascimento 2-3-0-33, Jimmy Nunuha 3-7-0-71; Bald, Akaka-Foster 11-23-1-125.
RECEIVING-StL, Stubblefield 5-133, Allan Cui 3-14, Drew Kobayashi 2-82, Jordan Eugenio 1-49, Jordan Goo 1-17, Javin Spears 1-11, Aaron Souza 1-5; Bald, Kaeo-Mata 5-67, Teva Eldridge 4-31, Atrell Tanaka 1-14, Nohea Keahi 1-13.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-StL, Mariota 25 (WL); Bald, Benjamin Wuthrich 29 (WL).
* * *
MAUI HIGH 51, ST. FRANCIS 0
St. Francis ...... 0 ....... 0 ..... 0 ....... 0-0
Maui High ..... 17 ..... 22 ..... 9 ..... 3-51
MH-Aaron Pierman 27 interception return (run failed), 11:56.
MH-safety, Blaze Umiamaka sacked in end zone by Arven Lacaden, 8:27.
MH-Mario Fernandez 5 run (Jared Kapisi kick), 5:30.
MH-safety, snap through end zone, 2:22.
MH-safety, snap through end zone, 9:40.
MH-Justin Carvalho 2 run (Kapisi kick), 4:27.
MH-Justin Ibanez 32 interception return (kick failed), 4:00.
MH-Fernandez 86 run (Kapisi kick), 0:00.
MH-Ibanez 47 interception return (Kapisi kick), 10:33.
MH-safety, Ibanez tackles Umiamaka in end zone, 7:12.
MH-Kapisi 33-yard FG, 10:39.
........................... StF ............................ MH
First downs ........... 3 .............................. 13
Rushes-yards ..... 23-(minus-64) ..... 36-295
Passing yards ..... 36 ................................ 0
Total offense ...... minus-28 .................. 295
Return yards ...... 42 ............................. 125
Comp-att.-int. ..... 3-15-3 .................... 0-0-0
Fumbles-lost ...... 0-0 ............................ 4-2
Penalties-yards .. 4-35 ........................ 5-52
Punts-avg. ......... 8-28.6 .................. 4-36.5
RUSHING-StF, Ranan Mamiya 8-20, Nayton Koki 1-0, Kelii Macalino 2-0, team 2-(minus 36), Blaze Umiamaka 10-(minus 48); MH, Fernandez 8-124, Ericson Hirose 9-63, Onosai Emelio 7-45, Moana Vainikolo 2-22, Justin Carvalho 4-23, Tyson Takabayashi 4-16, Jay Ramos 2-2.
PASSING-StF, Umiamaka 3-15-3-36.
RECEIVING-StF, Koki 2-38, Mamiya 1-(minus 2).
MISSED FIELD GOALS-None.