Defense did the job again for the Damien Monarchs.
Sure, sophomore quarterback Logan Lacio was wondrous with 225 passing yards, two TDs and no turnovers. Wide receiver Jarvis Natividad looked more like Jarvis Landry with five receptions for 138 yards and two TDs. Running back Amo Sulu was beastly with 29 carries for 184 yards, and linebacker/running back River Iaea was an ironman. He went full-time on defense and finished with 10 carries for 76 yards on offense as the Monarchs ironed out a 28-12 win over Kailua.
Damien finished with 468 yards of total offense. Defense, though, was solid from almost the start. Kailua managed just 152 yards of total offense as the Monarchs kept a close eye on speedy quarterback Cameron Friel. The tall, rangy playmaker finished with eight carries for 5 yards, camping out in his favorite territory.
“Our defense knew that Friel would be a key guy, so we kept a lot of pressure, a lot of man coverage,” Damien coach Eddie Klaneski said. “We wanted to force him to give up the ball on the RPO read. We kept our ends at home. Credit to our defense, they did a good job tonight.”
Damien needed the win to keep within range of front-running ‘Iolani in the ILH Division I race. The Monarchs improved to 4-2 in league play (6-2 overall). Kailua slipped to 3-5 overall, but the Surfriders remained 2-2 in OIA D-I play because interleague results don’t count in the OIA standings.
Klaneski’s team endured the prospect of playing without starting QB Jake Holtz (suspended).
“We felt confident that Logan could direct the offense. He made a lot of good plays, and there are still things he can improve on,” Klaneski said. “With a young quarterback, we wanted to keep it simple for him.”
Having Sulu and Iaea in the backfield is a luxury for most teams that aren’t in the Open Division.
“We knew we’d have both of them (at running back). River is full time on defense. Amo put a lot of work in the offseason and added 20 pounds. He’s very, very durable,” Klaneski said.
The longtime coach didn’t enjoy seeing some of his reserve players commit penalties in the final minutes. Damien finished with 13 flags for 147 yards.
“I’m happy with the victory, but I didn’t like the personal fouls that gave them the (last) touchdown. We put some different guys in at the end and they’re excited, but we have to correct it,” Klaneski said.
The Monarchs meet Aiea next week, while ‘Iolani faces D-I powerhouse Leilehua.
“Hopefully, Leilehua can help us,” Klaneski said.