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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Higgins' heroics lift Saints

One of his passes early in the game was intercepted by Mililani and eventually led to a touchdown.

Pretty much everything after that for Saint Louis' Jeremy Higgins was right on target.

Higgins accounted for five touchdowns in Saint Louis' 48-20 non-league football victory Saturday at John Kauinana Stadium in Mililani.

The junior quarterback completed 20 of 27 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for two touchdowns and 59 yards for the Crusaders (1-0).

"Higgins did a real fine job coming in on his first start," Mililani coach Darnell Arceneaux said after Saturday's game. "I thought he did a tremendous job. But, again he was sitting back there with a lot of time, making his reads. It's a fun offense for a quarterback."

Higgins credited his offensive line for giving him the space and time to throw. Higgins had 24- and 36-yard touchdown passes to Lucas Gonsalves and a 25-yard TD pass to Austin Wahinekona. Higgins also scored on 10- and 3-yard runs.

"O-line was great today," Higgins said after the game. "I had all day today back there. I felt so comfortable. They really picked me up after the pick in the beginning so that pushed me to win it for them."

In the first quarter, Mililani's Sterling Cossey intercepted Higgins' pass and returned it 56 yards to the Saint Louis 4. Taz Stevenson scored three plays later to give the Trojans (0-2) a 7-0 lead.

Saint Louis tied the score at 7 and 14, before taking the lead for good on Higgins' 24-yard pass to Gonsalves that capped the first quarter.

"We had our opportunities," Arceneaux said. "We had guys wrapped up in the box for sacks, but they escaped and made plays downfield. They've got the athletes to do it. We understood that we'd be in a battle all night long and we played against a very, very talented program."

Crusaders coach John Hao, a former all-state quarterback for Saint Louis, said there would be no offense without the offensive line's presence

"Everything can always go back to the O-line," said Hao, who was making his coaching debut. "Without the O-line, we cannot run, we cannot pass. The O-line showed a lot of strength up the middle and it makes the quarterback comfortable to throw the ball."

Higgins fills the position vacated by the graduation of Micah Mamiya, a two-time Advertiser Offensive Player of the Year. Mamiya went 22-1 in his two years as Saint Louis' starting quarterback.

"Micah was a good mentor," Higgins said. "He taught me a lot and he was always pushing me to get better. My brother (Cameron) was the quarterback before him, so it's kind of easy for me. I got to learn a lot."

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