Legacy is a loaded word, to be sure.
For Marcus Faufata-Pedrina, the poise that makes him a leader on and off the football field shouldn’t be mistaken for indifference or passivity. On the contrary, he’s been at the controls as a field general for Damien’s back-to-back ILH football titles in Division II. And as of Saturday, he was at the wheel as the Monarchs ended a 17-game losing streak to ‘Iolani.
Damien’s 35-21 win at Skippa Diaz Stadium left the Raiders grasping for the quarterback on his well-timed escapes from pressure. Ending a losing streak that goes back to 2006 basically covers every base when it comes to massive achievements by high school student-athletes. But Faufata-Pedrina was more than cool under pressure — 269 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover — in a prove-it-or-lose-it challenge against the Raiders, who had been required to play in ILH D-I the past two seasons.
Faufata-Pedrina wouldn’t diminish anything about a showdown that the Monarchs had awaited for so long.
“I think it’s a statement to the state. A lot of people are thinking ‘Iolani coming back down, they’re going to rule D-II, but we’ve been ruling D-II the past two years (in the ILH) and we don’t want that to change anytime soon,” he said.
Faufata-Pedrina has been part game manager, part clutch deliverer for a Monarchs program that has been resurrected under the care and protection of coach Eddie Klaneski. Key players have departed through transfer or just graduation, but the Monarchs haven’t seemed to lose a step. If anything, they seem to be the ultimate grown-up machine taking care of business with the kind of game plan that is more akin to college or pro football.
It takes extreme patience and maturity, after all, for a group of teenagers to work together, chew big chunks of time off the clock, and resist the temptation to get into a wild shootout with the hyper-fast, hurry-up Raiders. Damien did it so well, and Faufata-Pedrina has a coach-like mentality about a signature win.
“There are so many mistakes that we need to clean up. The little things, and if we clean them up we’ll be a way better football team,” he said.
One of the big things that won’t need to change is Pohai Kim’s penchant for timely defensive plays. He had three sacks against ‘Iolani.
“It feels really good. This is a team effort. We practiced so hard for this game,” Kim said. “It’s not over. We’re going to keep working hard. We play them again so hopefully we win again.”