The quarterback position at Damien looks to be in pretty good shape for the next two years.
Although sophomore Marcus Faufata-Pedrina couldn’t lead Damien to a first-round victory over Konawaena in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships on Saturday, the Monarchs quarterback had a record-setting night against the Wildcats.
Faufata-Pedrina completed 15 of 30 passes for a school-record 296 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-33 loss in the Monarchs’ first state tournament appearance since 2003. The 296 passing yards surpassed the previous high of 273 yards by Brian Borges in a 28-26 win over ‘Iolani on Oct. 1, 1988.
Borges’ record stood for 27 years before Faufata-Pedrina put Damien on his shoulders and nearly carried the Monarchs to a comeback victory.
Trailing 39-12 to start the fourth quarter, Faufata-Pedrina hit Bransen Apao, who has also played quarterback for the Monarchs, with a 6-yard TD pass to cut the deficit to 20.
The Monarchs recovered a fumble to get the ball back and Faufata-Pedrina engineered a 9-play, 59-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard run by Faufata-Pedrina, who also converted the two-point conversion on a pass to cut the deficit to 39-27.
Konawaena turned the ball over on downs after getting stopped on fourth-and-1 and Faufata Pedrina hit Kepono Kawaakoa on a 22-yard TD pass to make it a 39-33 game.
Konawaena went on to kick the game-clinching field goal with 39 seconds left as the Damien defense couldn’t give Faufata-Pedrina one more shot at potentially take the lead.
Tight end Austin Ballesteros was Faufata-Pedrina’s favorite target with five receptions for 153 yards with a long of 44 yards. Ballesteros’ 153 receiving yards are third-most in school history, trailing only John Santiago (169 yards against Kamehameha on Oct. 7, 1988) and Anthony Agcaoili (168 yards vs. Pac-Five on Sept. 28, 1989).
Faufata-Pedrina accounted for five total touchdowns, rushing 28 times for 50 yards and two scores. In eight games this season, Faufata-Pedrina completed 53 percent (59-for-111) of his passes for 799 yards and six touchdowns with three picks.
Damien (6-2), which won its first ILH title in 12 years, finished with its most wins in a season since 2008.