ILH Football
Wolfpack rally past Monarchs to first win of season


Fri, Oct 1, 2021 @ Aloha Stadium [ 5:00 pm ]

Final 1 2 3 4 T
P5(2-5-0) 0 13 0 619
DMS(2-5-0) 0 7 0 07

Joshua Arcayena ran for 139 yards and a touchdown and tallied 12 tackles with three sacks and a fumble recovery to help rally PAC-5 to its first win of the season with a 19-7 victory over Damien at Aloha Stadium Friday night. 

The Wolfpack (1-4) avenged a six-point loss to the Monarchs (2-4) in their last meeting on Sept. 10 in their second-to-last game of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu season. 

PAC-5 scored 13 points off of turnovers, including Arcayena's 5-yard touchdown run at the 2:18 mark of the second quarter. Bryson Tsukayama-Daniel's ensuing extra point tied the score at 7. 

On Damien's next possession, Cameron Cinton intercepted a pitch by Monarchs' quarterback Joshua DeCenzo and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. Officially, Cinton's takeaway was a fumble recovery and not an interception because DeCenzo lateraled the ball instead of a forward pass. 

Wolfpack coach Kena Heffernan couldn't help but chuckle when recalling the play. 

"We were telling him it was gonna happen, that's the thing about it," Heffernan laughed. "He was on our sideline so we were trying to coach him up right there and calling a specific defense specifically for him to try and get him into a position and it was fortuitous that it just so happens and he looks over, was like, ‘OK, I got it,' and then he picks up on the ball and all of a sudden it was right place, right time."

Cinton's defensive score gave his team the lead for good, just 17 seconds after Arcayena's touchdown. The PAT was no good and the Wolfpack took a 13-7 lead into the half. 

After a scoreless third stanza, PAC-5 added a late insurance score on Chad Schmidt's 29-yard TD run to close out the scoring with 2:24 left in the game. 

"It's awesome," Arcayena said of the win to Spectrum OC16's Jimmy Bender. "In the very beginning we had the mindset to come out, work hard and this last week of practice been working really hard and just like coach Kena said, we been playing with that grit — thank you to the coaches, they do a lot for us, awesome game plan that they had for us — we executed on the defense, on the offense, it was just a hell of a game on both sides of the ball."

The game got off to a bit of a dubious start for the Wolfpack as the Monarchs attempted and recovered an onside kick. However, PAC-5's defense held on the drive and forced a turnover on downs on Damien's first three possessions of the night. 

The Monarchs attempted nine fourth-down conversions, but were able to convert only twice. They were just 2 of 12 on third downs. 

"We talked about it all week and we've been really after it all week, that we gotta play hard and we gotta play on defense," Heffernan said. "Yeah, the offense is gonna score points, but defense wins games and we gotta be stingy on defense."

PAC-5's defense tallied 18 tackles for loss, six sacks and three takeaways. In addition to the fumble recoveries by Arcayena and Cinton, Ezekiel Rodrigues intercepted a pass in the second quarter that set-up Arcayena's TD run three plays later. 

Damien opened the scoring at the 5:40 mark of the second quarter when wide receiver Kela Chinen-Zablan recovered a fumble by running back Sylas Alaimalo for a 1-yard TD run. 

PAC-5 rushed for all 192 yards of its yards. It was 0-of-5 passing with two interceptions. 

"There's a lot to get back to work on. We made a lot of mistakes, but the great part about this team — and I love that part about it — is they're looking forward to improving, they're looking forward to eliminating mistakes and they just want to get out there and learn," Heffernan said. 

Damien ran 66 offensive plays — 23 more than PAC-5 — and finished with 154 yards of total offense. 

The Monarchs were held to 39 rushing yards on 34 attempts. 

"The word all week was to ‘finish' and we talked about it before the game, we talked about it at halftime, we talked about it at the start of the fourth quarter, so I'm happy that they were able to finish," Heffernan said. "To me, that was more important than the score, is that they were able to complete one of the their goals."

DeCenzo, who started at quarterback for the Monarchs in place of Jensen Tanele (who missed his third straight game due to injury), finished with 115 yards through the air on 22-of-32 passing. 

PAC-5 wraps up the ILH season against Saint Louis II Friday at Aloha Stadium. 

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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