Hawaii Prep World will be releasing summer previews of all 29 Oahu varsity football teams in advance of the 2017 season that kicks off in early August.
EIGHTH IN A SERIES
>> 2016 record and finish: 7-3 (3-1 ILH Division II); beat St. Francis 20-12 in the ILH D-II championship game, beat Waialua 40-0 in the first round of the D-II state tournament, lost 21-14 to Kapaa in the D-II state semifinals
>> Number of returning starters: 5 offense, 5 defense
>> Number of returning seniors: 5 offense, 5 defense
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 4 offense, 4 defense
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 21
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to transfer: Julius Buelow, second-team OL
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: None
>> Among 2017 key offensive returnees: Marcus Faufata-Pedrina, QB; Akila Arrechi, RB/SB/DB; Aisaac Unga, OLl Pomai Kim, TE/DE; Isaac Sagapolutele OL/DL; Israel Sagapolutele OL/DL
>> Among 2017 key defensive returnees: Matt Faufata-Pedrina LB/RB/SB; JT White FS; Kaimana Cameron SS/K; Shiloh Kaeo LB/DL/FB; Akila Arrechi DB; Kevin Edwards DB
>> Monarchs with Division I FBS college offers: None
>> All-time state championships: None
>> All-time Prep Bowl era (1973-1998) championships: None
>> All-time ILH championships: 3 (all in D-II, 2003, 2015, 2016)
>> 2017 conference: ILH D-II
>> 2017 state tournament declaration: D-I
Head coach EDDIE KLANESKI on the Monarchs’ outlook for 2017:
“We were happy and excited to repeat as ILH D-II champions, but at the same time it was disappointing we didn’t make it to the state championship, which was our number one goal. Overall, it was a great experiece. We’re moving in the right direction and we keep making strides forward. This year is not going to be any easier, with St. Francis and Pac-Five and also the return of ‘Iolani in our division. We’re training and preparing for the challenges.
“The kids are totally motivated for this year. We’ve tried to ingrain in the seniors that they have something to accomplish. They’ve won the ILH D-II two years in a row and will try for a three-peat. The expectations never change and they now what they need to do. Each year has its own difficulties, but they’re up for that challenge. It’s real difficult in the offseason. Long summer days, working to get bigger, faster and stronger. Sacrificing their days and not going to the beach or doing whatever they want to do.
“We went on the road for the state tournament game and played well. But finishing games is something we’ve gotta do. We’ve had some good ones and some really bad ones. There were times I thought we didn’t manage the game that well as coaches. We let games get closer and we lost some games that we shouldn’ve have lost. We could be making better adjustments, managing the time better, making the right calls or better calls and that comes with maturity and experience.
“Completing games is important. Sometimes we would play three quarters and then give just 75 percent in the fourth quarter or get a little lax. Sometimes we’d give up a touchdown with two minutes left in the first half. Or give up a turnover. Against Kapaa in the state tournament, we had four turnovers, three in the red zone. One was a pick-six right after we got a turnover from them.
“Part of it is play-calling and some of it is not knowing the situation, managing the game rather than try to make a play when you don’t need to make a play. Sometimes that hurt us really bad. I’m not saying be less aggressive, but be more concious of the decisions we make. Secure the ball and be smarter in certain situations. We can’t fumble the ball in the red zone.
“Our seniors are grounded and they are really good kids, and their leadership will be better on and off the field this year. I’m excited about our kids taking this in the right direction.
“Between the two programs (varsity and intermediate), we’ve got 90-something players. On paper, we have 42 on varsity and it’s growing. We should get up to 50ish and possibly 60. The intermediate team is really strong with a bunch of kids returning and a lot of new ones coming in.
“Division II (in the ILH and in Hawaii), if you go to see a game, you’re going to see great football. The biggest difference is the smaller size of kids and the smaller number of players on the teams.”
2017 Damien football schedule
Subject to change. Click here for the latest schedule updates.
Note: The ILH regular-season schedule was not out when this article was published.
Thursday, July 27
>> Damien vs. Kalaheo and Nanakuli (tri-scrimmage at Nanakuli)
Friday, July 28
>> Damien vs. Mililani and Waianae (tri-scrimmage at Waianae)
Saturday, July 29
>> Damien at Kalani (scrimmage)
Saturday, Aug. 5
>> Damien at Castle (nonleague)
Saturday, Aug. 12
>> Damien at Kealakehe (nonleague)
Friday, Aug. 18
>> Villa Park (Villa Park, Calif.) vs. Damien, at Skippa Diaz Stadium (nonleague)
2017 Damien varsity football staff
>> Head coach and defensive coordinator: Eddie Klaneski: (seventh season, 24-31)
>> Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks: Lefa Lauti
>> Wide receivers: Anthony Tuitele
>> Slotbacks: Elia Akau
>> Offensive line: Elijah Clemente, Houston Clemente
>> Running backs: Josh Asuncion
>> Defensive line: Jason Kauanui
>> Defensive ends: Gavin Ah Yat
>> Linebackers: David Tuiasosopo
>> Defensive backs: Makou Meyer, Pathen Asuncion