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Life matters Award
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Stacy Kaneshiro | ScoringLiveSeptember 2, 2016, 11:51pm
Fri, Sep 2, 2016 @ Aloha Stadium [ 5:00 pm ]
JT White intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and No. 3 Damien fended off a late rally by No. 5 Saint Francis in a 21-16 victory Friday at Aloha Stadium.
It was the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II regular-season opener for both teams and it looked like each could've used another preseason game.
The Monarchs (3-1 overall, 1-0 ILH) managed 151 yards of offense. Its first score came when offensive lineman Rush Asing picked up a fumble and by running back Justice White and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. That after White gained 14 yards on the play. And the score was set up when Saint Francis lost a fumble on the opening kickoff that White recovered at the Saints' 44.
The Saints (1-2, 0-1) turned over the ball five times. Besides the three picks by White and his fumble recovery on the kickoff, Scott Lam also had an interception and blocked a punt, one of two in the game by Damien.
It wasn't a pretty game on any level. Damien made nine first downs and was penalized 13 times for 69 yards. Saint Francis was contained to seven first downs and 89 yards of offense. One of its scores came on Destin Pakele's 70-yard interception return with eight minutes, 37 seconds left in the game. The Saints were penalized nine times for 56 yards.
"We just made too many mistakes at the end of the game," Damien coach Eddie Klaneski said. "It's frustrating. We know what they're doing and we just don't make plays. We have to work on that. We have a lot of things to do, but overall, coming out, we're happy with the victory."
The Monarchs got a bit of a scare when starting QB Marcus Faufata-Pedrina went down with back spasms late in the third period. Although he could have returned to the game, backup Chase Kokualani was brought in with the hope he could finish the game and not risk further injury to Faufata-Pedrina. But when Pakele's pick-six off Kokualani pulled the Saints to 21-8 with 8:37 in the game, Klaneski had to bring Faufata-Pedrina back.
White was the difference-maker for the Monarchs. He moved over from strong to free safety and paid immediate dividends for Damien.
"It was a good game for him," Klaneski said. "We had a game plan for him to being on top. We changed him from strong safety to free safety. He just made a lot of plays. He put himself in a great position to make them. They threw the balls up and he just made good plays. It was a matter of time before he was going to have a break-out game."
White made his presence felt on the opening kickoff. Saint Francis' Micah Kalei fielded the opening kickoff near the sideline, doing a toe dance then appeared to try to pitch the ball to someone. White, though, was the only one near the ball.
"He threw it back in," Whte said. "Oh, I ran up to the ball and grab'em."
That set up the Monarchs' first score on a freak break as Justice White fumbled after a 14-yard gain, only to have one of his blockers, Asing, pick up the ball and take it to the end zone just 16 seconds into the game. Kaimana Cameron's PAT made it 7-0.
In the second quarter, the first blocked punt of the game gave Damien possession at the Saints' 12. After a five-yard penalty, Faufata-Pedrina hit Shaun Apiki for a 17-yard TD pass to make it 14-0.
White's second pick of the game to the Saints' 19 set up Faufata-Pedrina's 2-yard TD run with 3:43 in the half to make it 21-0.
The score stayed that way until Pakele's interception return. Wembley Mailei ran in the 2-point coversion to make it 21-8. The Saints' failed on an onside kick, but Damien went three-and-out. The Saints then put together a 60-yard scoring drive with Mailei scoring on a 1-yard run and the 2-point conversion with 2:40 left. Saint Francis tried to pooch an onside try, but failed and Damien was able to run the clock out.
"We have to work harder," JT White said of having to fend off the Saints at the end of the game. "We have to have more discipline, wrapping up on the tackles."
Twelve student-athletes, including the first from Lanai, will be honored June 2.
The Campbell senior shortstop batted 0.524 through the OIA regular season and playoffs.
The Kailua senior led all Division I pitchers with 72 strikeouts on the year.
The Marauders' third baseman helped the team go undefeated in the regular season.
The Mililani senior outside hitter won the award two years ago as a first-year setter.
Na Menehune senior was a six-rotation player that attacked from all areas of the court.