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Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Michael Lasquero | ScoringLiveSeptember 25, 2017, 2:48pm
The Mililani football team may have played their backups for most of the game in their 44-33 win over Nanakuli last Saturday, but there was one starter that had a career performance.
Senior kicker Damien Santiago booted five PATs and three field goals in the Trojans' victory to give him over 100 career points.
Santiago, a 2016 All-Hawaii Division I First Team selection, came into the contest with 98 career points and reached the century mark after Kilifi Malepeai ran in a 1-yard touchdown at the 8:43 mark of the first quarter to put Mililani up by two scores.
With a sizable lead, the Trojans were able to sub in their backups and third-string players on both sides of the ball to build depth before the playoffs.
Mililani rotated in several linemen and at least 13 different receivers on offense and came up short on a handful of red zone opportunities, but Santiago was able to kick field goals from 29, 25, and 38 yards out to give the Trojans a 30-7 lead at halftime.
"Those weren't easy field goals," said Mililani coach Rod York. "He came in and he whacked out three of those and hit on all of the PATs. Damien has always been a big plus for us. When our kicker can make those kicks at the right time and under pressure, we look forward to utilizing him."
Santiago, who had 112 career points when the night was over, was quick to defer credit to his teammates.
"I know I couldn't do it without my O-line blocking for me, especially my long snapper Darius Muasau and my holder Kaysen Higa," he said.
York also spoke highly of Santiago's work ethic in practice.
"The thing about Damien is he comes out and works hard. He's always here an hour early. He does have a soccer schedule which we respect and he's upfront with, but all the days he's supposed to be here, he's here."
While most teams with a solid kicker are content to have their kicker put the ball into the end zone for a touchback on kickoffs, the Trojans would rather have Santiago pin the ball inside the 20 to give the coverage unit a chance to make a play.
"I'm just happy to help the team any way I can," said Santiago. "We know we can't settle once we're up so we got to keep pushing."
Santiago has not missed a PAT this season and is 2-for-2 on onside kick attempts.
Konawaena's Hill sets state field goal recordSantiago wasn't the only one doing work in the kicking game this weekend.
Konawaena junior Harry Hill set the new state record for longest field goal with a 58-yard boot in a 57-8 win over Waiakea Saturday afternoon.
Hill's record setting kick came on a free kick just before the end of the first half against the Warriors.
The previous record was 57 yards, which was held by Kailua's Naia Graham in 2013 and Hilo's Christian Daog in 2009.
Na Menehune will get a chance to avenge last year's title game loss to Mililani next week.
The Trojans will meet Moanalua next Monday in a rematch of last year's OIA D1 title match.
The doubleheader will go on as scheduled, according to league coordinator Glenn Nitta.
The Chargers recorded 10 hits and Cade Halemanu threw 10 Ks to advance to the OIA semis.
Mililani cranked out 14 hits Thursday to punch their ticket to next month's state tourney.
The Rams swept the visiting Rough Riders to advance to the OIA Division I quarterfinals.