Damien has enjoyed an abundance of preparation time over the last month.
After pulling out a triple-overtime win over Pac-Five on Sept. 30, the Monarchs went close to three weeks without a game before facing Saint Francis in the ILH Division II championship game.
That win gave them another two weeks to gear up for their opener in the D-II state tournament. Even so, Damien coach Eddie Klaneski wasn’t all that concerned about rust heading into the matchup with Waialua. The Monarchs emerged from the break refreshed and extended the season with a 40-0 win over OIA champion Waialua on Friday at Campbell.
“We know how to approach it and our guys are just happy about it now. We just have to heal up and get ready for Kapaa,” Klaneski said.
After playing just one game in October, eight days between contests is a relatively quick turnaround and the Monarchs (7-2) will face the KIF champion and top-seeded Warriors in a semifinal game on Nov. 12 at Vidinha Stadium on Kauai.
Damien came out of a two-week break with a sharp performance that produced 348 yards in total offense (223 rushing, 125 passing) and held Waialua to 44 (minus-14 rushing, 58 passing).
The Damien defense forced five takeaways — four interceptions and a fumble recovery —and was on the field for just 11 plays in the second half.
“We haven’t hit anybody else in a long time so they were just excited to play somebody else,” Klaneski said. “They showed up tonight and did a great job on both sides.”
Senior running back Justice White entered the game with 395 rushing yards on 85 carries this season. He averaged 11.6 yards on his nine carries for a total of 104 on Friday and turned a short throw into a 22-yard touchdown reception that opened the scoring. He later scored on a 29-yard run.
“This is probably (White’s) best game of the season and that’s what we expect for him to do, just to peak at the right time,” Klaneski said. “He’s always had really good games and tonight was an exceptional game for him.”
Damien also got strong performances in the ground game from Deacon Kapea (12 attempts, 87 yards, TD) and Domenic Arecchi (11 carries, 45 yards, TD).
“As the game went on I just kept telling my offensive coordinator, ‘let’s try to keep running the ball,” Klaneski said.
Quarterback Marcus Faufata-Pedrina complemented the ground game by completed eight of nine pass attempts for 125 yards and two touchdowns, including a 31-yarder to Shaun Apiki that gave the Monarchs a 27-0 lead. Damien attempted just one throw, a 24-yard completion, in the second half.
The defense completed the Monarchs’ second shutout of the season, the last coming in a 33-0 win at Maui on Aug. 12.
Next up for Damien is a Kapaa team that won the KIF title at 5-1 and hasn’t played since a 15-12 win over Waimea on Oct. 15.