ILH Division II Playoffs
The matchup: Pac-Five (1-7) vs. Damien (3-5)
Location/Time: Aloha Stadium, Saturday, 4:45 p.m.
Head-to-head (since 1973): Pac-Five leads 39-37-1
Biggest margin of victory: Pac-Five, 42-0, Oct. 1, 2010; Pac-Five, 42-0, Oct. 17, 1985
*Smallest margin of victory: Pac-Five, 7-6, Sept. 13, 1986; Pac-Five, 14-13, Oct. 23, 1987; Pac-Five, 21-20, Nov. 2, 1990; Damien, 7-6, Oct. 21, 2000; Pac-Five, 21-20, Nov. 3, 2006.
*Teams played to 19-19 tie on Sept. 25, 2004
Pac-Five’s offensive leadersUpdated: Oct. 20
Damien’s offensive leadersUpdated: Oct. 29
Of the 77 previous meetings between Pac-Five and Damien over the last 40 years, Saturday night’s matchup has as much at stake as any of them.
It’s a loser-leaves-town match between the longtime rivals as the winner advances to the ILH Division II championship game.
Damien snapped a 27-game losing streak in ILH play with a 31-14 win over Pac-Five in August. Quarterback Syles Choy accounted for 277 total yards of offense, rushing for a season-high 78 yards in addition to his 199 yards passing. Kealii Kaanapu and Kepono Kawaakoa each caught touchdown passes as Damien snapped an eight-game losing streak to Pac-Five, whose only ILH win came against Saint Francis.
The Monarchs’ most impressive game might have come in a 19-3 loss to ‘Iolani, when Damien proved it could hang with the nine-time defending ILH Division II champions.
In order to get another shot at the Raiders, the Monarchs will have to get past Pac-Five, which hopes for a better showing this time around against its rivals.
Pac-Five quarterback Anthony Canencia has thrown for 1,354 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and has gotten better with his accuracy in recent games. The Wolfpack showed the ability to run the ball against ‘Iolani two weeks ago as Jarrod Infante rushed for a season-high 77 yards to help Pac-Five rack up 138 rushing yards against the Raiders.
Pac-Five led ‘Iolani at the half, 13-10, and trailed by only four points heading into the final quarter of a 31-19 loss. Both teams have showed they can hang with the Raiders if they can reach the Division II final. In order to do that, they must first get a win on Saturday.
The two teams have tended to be hot and cold against each other in the series. Pac-Five won 13 straight meetings from 1981 to 1987. Damien won seven in a row from 1992 to 1995 and won another five straight before the Wolfpack recorded eight straight wins heading into this season.
The rule of thumb has generally been whoever wins the first game of the season almost always wins the rematch.
Damien looked far superior in a 17-point victory in August, but both teams had similar results against a common opponent in ‘Iolani. Both desperately want a shot at dethroning the Raiders next week, so expect both teams to leave it all on the field on Saturday. This is a matchup that could go either way. The edge goes to Damien, due to its head-to-head win, even though it came two months ago.