VIDEO: Hawaii football’s Saint Louis, Bishop Gorman alums trade chatter ahead of ‘The Showdown’

Saint Louis defender Kamalei Correa wrapped up Bishop Gorman's Nate Sparks for a short gain in the second quarter in the teams' matchup at Aloha Stadium on Sept. 1, 2012. / Star-Advertiser file photo by Bruce Asato

“The Showdown” between prep powerhouses Bishop Gorman and Saint Louis School will have far-reaching implications from Aloha Stadium on Friday night.

One of those teams remain in the discussion for a high school national football championship. But maybe more importantly, bragging rights will be firmly established over on the UH Manoa campus, and more specifically in the Rainbow Warrior football team’s locker room.

UH has healthy representation on both sides, with a dozen combined players and coaches part of the Saint Louis Brotherhood and its two starting safeties hailing from Bishop Gorman. Former UH player and coach Rich Miano helped set up the game as part of the Aloha Football Classic.

“The Showdown” has everyone amped up. UH is expected to have healthy representation sitting (and probably standing) behind both sidelines for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

Saint Louis needs no introduction as the perennial prep powerhouse of Hawaii under Cal Lee. The Crusaders have won a combined 20 Oahu Prep Bowls and HHSAA state championships. Las Vegas-based Bishop Gorman is a 17-time Nevada state champion, including 10 in a row. Gorman was the unofficial national champion in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

They are consensus top-15 teams this year.

Saint Louis is ranked No. 12 in the USA Today poll and No. 10 in the MaxPreps poll. Bishop Gorman is No. 13 in USA Today and No. 15 in MaxPreps.

In their last meeting, at Aloha Stadium on Sept. 1, 2012, Gorman won 52-40.

Hawaii running back Dayton Furuta made it broader. His alma mater, Mililani, takes on another Las Vegas school, Liberty High, at 7 on Friday night.

“I’m excited for Hawaii vs. Vegas this weekend,” Furuta said as he walked past media members after practice Thursday morning.

THE SAINT LOUIS SIDE

UH has nine players from Saint Louis, plus assistant coaches Corey Batoon, Craig Stutzmann and Jacob Yoro.

The players are: quarterback Chevan Cordeiro; receiver Jonah Panoke; nickelback Kai Kaneshiro; receiver Keliam Brunn; linebacker Kila Kamakawiwo‘ole; offensive lineman Eliki Tanuvasa; offensive lineman Arasi Mose; receiver Chance Beyer; and a recent transfer from Oregon State, Isaiah Tufaga.

Kaneshiro, a redshirt freshman, said this game has been talked about since he became a UH player.

“I’m super excited. I think Saint Louis is going to do what they gotta do and hopefully bring home the dub,” Kaneshiro said.

Even the normally reserved Cordeiro talked openly about “guys talking crap” leading up to the game. He views matchups with mainland teams as a special opportunity.

“My year (2017), we played Narbonne from Cali. They ended up winning their division, I think. We played them, we won (56-50, with Cordeiro throwing for 393 yards and six TDs),” Cordeiro said. “Playing a mainland team, it’s different than local teams. It’s more hype. You get more excited to play against someone … different.”


Stutzmann, one of UH’s primary recruiters, was as diplomatic about it as he could manage.

“I’m caught between a rock and a hard place because I recruit both schools,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a challenging game for both. They’re both in a good place, both have a lot of talent. Storied programs. … There’s a lot of talk going on already in the locker room and on the practice field. It’s going to be a good one.”

THE BISHOP GORMAN SIDE

UH has a pair of Bishop Gorman alums and former Gaels teammates in safeties Kalen Hicks and Ikem Okeke. The two were Gorman freshmen in 2012, but did not play with the varsity against Saint Louis that year.

Also, UH football alum Chris Brown is an assistant coach with Gorman.

Hicks and Okeke have shrugged off their outnumbered status.

“(The Saint Louis coaches) try to get in our heads a little bit. We know what Gorman’s about, so we’re not worried about it,” Okeke said.

Said Hicks: “There’s been a lot of talk. We’ve been going back and forth. It’s just a big pride thing. We’ve all got pride in our schools, so it’s just funny talking trash to each other. We’ll see Friday night, the end result.”

They plan to be on or behind the Gorman sideline. They know their reputation is on the line.

“A lot of people think Gorman is just a bunch of privileged guys who get all this nice gear and all this nice stuff, but it’s a whole lot of work that goes into it,” Okeke said. “A lot of stuff they don’t get to see. We have all these nice facilities, but we put everything to use. We try to maximize talent there and really build people to succeed at the next level and beyond that.

“I’m going … to be cheering for every touchdown they get, every stop they get. I’m going to be real loud about it. And once we come back to practice Saturday, I’m gonna let them know who won that game.”


Hicks gave Brown a renewed shout-out for helping get him to Manoa. Hicks’ little brother, Jaden, is a junior safety for Gorman this year. He’s already given him a pep talk.

“I’m telling him he’d better be ready, you know everyone out here is talking trash against you guys. He (responded with) a whole bunch of laughing faces (emojis), like ‘yeah, we ready.’ “

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