In a little more than four months, the championship football program at Damien will be at full throttle again.
Coming off a 7-3 season and back-to-back Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II titles, Damien has a full slate in the first three weeks of preseason.
The Monarchs will play Castle, travel to Kealakehe (Aug. 12) and then host Villa Park (Calif.) at Farrington’s brand-new Skippa Diaz Stadium (Aug. 18).
Castle is in transition with a new coach, John Hao. Kealakehe, a former D-I dynasty on the Big Island, hasn’t won the BIIF title since 2012.
Villa Park was 9-2 last season with a 3-0 mark in the CIF’s Crestview League. The Spartans’ quarterback, Nick Sipe, led the league in passing, but graduates this year. Also graduating is John Stamos (6-3, 230), who led the league in tackles and ranked second in rushing yardage.
Sipe’s favorite target, Dylan Bonilla, will return. Bonilla had 49 receptions for 737 yards and five touchdowns as a junior.
“It is going to be a challenge for us. We’re excited about it,” Damien coach Eddie Klaneski said.
The date for the game at Castle has not been set, but is likely to be Aug. 5, Klaneski said.
The Monarchs have one of the top players in D-II returning as a senior: Marcus Faufata-Pedrina. The 5-8, 180-pound quarterback passed for 1,585 yards and 25 TDs as a junior. He also rushed for 523 yards and seven TDs.
Leading rusher Justice White (552 yards, four TDs) and top receiver Shaun Apiki (31 catches, 407 yards, 11 TDs) will graduate this spring. White was also third on the team in receiving yardage (17 receptions, 213 yards, three TDs).
Also graduating will be their No. 2 receiver, James Livingston-Lopez (20, 322, five).
Deacon Kapea (5-10, 180), who rushed for 397 yards and two TDs, will be a junior this fall. Receiver Akila Arrechi (16, 194, three) will be a senior.