ILH D2 Preview: ‘Iolani vs. Damien

Damien's Edwin "DJ" Aumua picked up yards against St. Francis. (Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser)
Damien’s Edwin “DJ” Aumua picked up yards against St. Francis. (Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser)

ILH Division II Playoffs

The matchup: ‘Iolani (6-4) vs. Damien (4-5)
Location/Time: Aloha Stadium, Friday, 5 p.m.
Head-to-head (since 1973): ‘Iolani leads 64-16-2
Biggest margin of victory: ‘Iolani, 47-0, Oct. 19, 2001
*Smallest margin of victory: Damien, 21-20, Sept. 28, 1996; Damien, 10-9, Sept. 23, 1983; ‘Iolani, 15-14, Oct. 21, 1983; ‘Iolani, 27-26, Sept. 16, 1978;
*Teams played to 7-7 tie on Oct. 26, 1974 and 34-34 tie on Sept. 9, 2006

‘Iolani’s offensive leaders

Updated: Nov. 18
Austin Jim On11166-246-71,83720
Easton Tsubata875-134-28026
Jordan Ross1010072910
Tamatane Aga6933673
Keoni-Kordell Makekau126598410
Chad Hanaoka9534916
Chase Kanekuni11485443
Tyler Teruya11393265

Damien’s offensive leaders

Updated: Oct. 29
Syles Choy10119-233-161,32710
DJ Aumua6562775
Leeland Lauti7562471
Trevor Caspillo10391800
Syles Choy10661043
Kealii Kaanapu10395345
Trevor Caspillo10273043
Dylan Flores8202230
Bransen Apao7161461

Ten years ago, Damien lost to Aiea in the first-ever HHSAA Division II state championship.

That’s the only time a team other than ‘Iolani represented the ILH in the Division II tourney.

The Raiders will go for a 10th straight ILH Division II championship on Friday night when they play the Monarchs at Aloha Stadium.

‘Iolani has won 13 straight games against Damien dating back to a 34-34 tie on Sept. 9, 2006. The Raiders are averaging 35 points a game in those 13 wins while holding the Monarchs to 9.7 points. In fact, Damien has been held to 10 points or less in seven of the last eight meetings, including a 19-3 loss earlier this year.

'Iolani's Chad Hanaoka caught a TD pass against Kamehameha-Hawaii. (Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser)
‘Iolani’s Chad Hanaoka caught a TD pass against Kamehameha-Hawaii. (Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser)

‘Iolani lost sophomore running back Jordan Ross to an ankle injury in that game but Ross returned to play a little last week against Saint Francis. He’ll likely see a bigger workload this week against a Monarchs team that gave the Raiders some trouble earlier this season. Running back DJ Aumua rushed for a season-high 119 yards but fumbled as he crossed the ‘Iolani 10-yard line with the Monarchs down only 9-3 with 6 minutes left. The Raiders tacked on 10 quick points to make the final score look more lopsided than the actual game.

Damien snapped a 27-game conference losing streak earlier this year and has three wins over ILH teams. Quarterback Syles Choy scored on a 1-yard sneak with 50 seconds remaining to give the Monarchs a 35-28 win over Pac-Five last week. Damien did give up 356 passing yards to Wolfpack quarterback Anthony Canencia, which is a bad sign heading into Friday’s game.

‘Iolani quarterback Austin Jim On has been on fire recently, completing over 80 percent (33-for-41) of his passes for a career-high 367 yards and three touchdowns against Pac-Five two games ago. Last week, he threw for six touchdowns in the win over Saint Francis. Receiver Keoni-Kordell Makekau set the single-game school record with 220 receiving yards against the Wolfpack and has four 100-yard receiving games this season.

Damien will need to do what it did earlier this season, controlling the clock with its running game. ‘Iolani has been weak stopping the run and Aumua showed he can rack up yards against the Raiders defense. Damien was right there in the first meeting before Aumua’s fumble. If the Monarchs can keep it close to the fourth quarter and not make that critical turnover, then Damien has a shot to unseat the nine-time defending ILH champions.

Can ‘Iolani move on to defend its six straight state titles or will Damien put the Raiders on upset alert Friday night at the stadium?


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