Damien in rare shootout with Saint Louis

Damien has come a long way since it prepared to cross the purple line for the start of fall practice. Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser.
Damien has come a long way since it prepared to cross the purple line for the start of fall practice. Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser.

Damien had scored a total of 14 points against Saint Louis in a four-year span leading up to the latest meeting.

The Monarchs matched that figure in their first two possessions on Friday, relying largely on the height and hands of wideout Kapiinaokala King.

But Damien couldn’t keep pace with Saint Louis quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who threw for five touchdowns in an efficient performance and the Crusaders pulled away to a 54-34 win at Aloha Stadium.

Tagovailoa completed 10 of 16 attempts for 222 yards and threw touchdown passes to five different receivers. He raised his season totals to 2,042 yards and 29 touchdowns against just two interceptions while completing 70 percent of his throws.

Saint Louis had won the previous five meetings by an aggregate score of 254-28, but found itself in a shootout into the second quarter on Friday.

Damien recovered an onside kick to open the game and Dallas Labanon looked for the 6-foot-5 King repeatedly early in the game. With Labanon throwing jump balls up to King, their first connection went for 40 yards and the second was a 4-yard touchdown on a fade route.

Completions of 27 and 24 yards set up Damien’s second touchdown, an 8-yard throw to Ian Lundberg, and another fade to King on the 2-point conversion gave Damien a 14-7 lead.

Saint Louis rolled double coverage to King’s side, but the Monarchs still managed to sustain a nine-play scoring drive, aided by two Saint Louis penalties, and took a 20-14 advantage on a touchdown pass to Kanai Picanco with 9:15 left in the second quarter.

The lead would last just 13 seconds.

After the Crusaders recovered another onside kick at midfield, Tagovailoa hit Allan Cui for a 50-yard touchdown on the next play to spark a 33-point run and the Crusaders closed the regular season at 5-1 in ILH play.

Labanon and King, who finished with 106 yards on five receptions, connected on an 11-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Monarchs scored again in the final minute to post their highest point total in the series going back to 1969 and the closest margin since a 20-12 decision in 2005. Saint Louis hasn’t lost to Damien since 1982.


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