By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
November 23, 1973. Across the United States, momentum was building to impeach President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. In Hawaii, local tourism industry insiders were predicting economic disaster for the Islands if the ongoing energy crisis led to gasoline rationing. And in sports, the construction of the new Aloha Stadium was momentarily halted after a number of workers walked off the job, citing safety concerns.
And later that night, the Waianae Seariders shut out the Saint Louis Crusaders, 6-0, to claim the very first Prep Bowl championship.
The game was played at Honolulu Stadium with some 20,000 fans in attendance. As the score indicates, the contest was a classic defensive struggle, with the only score coming with 1:20 left in the final quarter. QB Victor Humalon’s 11-yard TD pass to William Pimental secured the Seariders’ history-making win.
”When was the last time a Marciel team got blanked?” marveled Waianae head coach Larry Ginoza to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin afterward. “It was a great defensive effort.”
Crusader head coach Ron Marciel was gracious in defeat, saying, “In a game like this there is always going to be a loser, and in this case it was us. We have nothing to be ashamed of since Waianae is a great ballclub.”
The Saint Louis defense was led by a pair of future college standouts: Defensive lineman Harris Matsushima would become a star player at the University of Hawaii, while linebacker Brian Cabral went on to play at Colorado before enjoying a lengthy NFL career. Cabral was a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl championship team.
The Saint Louis QB was Vinny Passas, who today is regarded by many as the top quarterback coach in the country. The “Quarterback Guru” has mentored some of Hawaii’s greatest QBs, including Marcus Mariota, Tua Tagovailoa, McKenzie Milton, Dillon Gabriel, Timmy Chang, Jordan Ta‘amu and Chevan Cordeiro.
It was the first of three Prep Bowl championships for Waianae and the school’s legendary head coach, Ginoza. (The Seariders also won in 1977 and ’78.) The Crusaders would go on to win 14 Prep Bowls, including 13 in a row from 1986 to 1998. The Prep Bowl was replaced in 1999 with an official state tournament.