No. 8 Damien matches best start ever, but wants more

Damien receiver Jarvis Natividad (7) is 4 yards away from taking over as the leader in receiving yards in OIA-ILH Division I. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

No. 8 Damien’s second 5-0 start in its 53-year history left a lot to be desired for coach Eddie Klaneski and quarterback Jake Holtz. After Friday night’s 41-13 win at Castle, both acknowledged the undefeated start to the season but weren’t satisfied.


A lot has changed in Houghtaling since Klaneski took over as head coach nine years ago, especially the standard at which the football team holds itself to. Klaneski has turned the Monarchs into annual ILH contenders. So for 2019, a 5-0 start is nice, but bigger plans are in mind.

“It’s good, but that doesn’t really matter,” Klaneski said. “We have to face each game and each week. We’re happy to be where we’re at right now but we just have a lot of work to do on ourselves. If we can correct those things, we’ll be OK.”

The Monarchs (5-0, 3-0 ILH Division I) made a living off of capitalizing on mistakes Castle (1-3, 1-2 OIA Division I) made all night. Three of their scores came off of turnovers, and River Iaea’s second touchdown of the first half came after a costly running-into-the-punter call that gave Damien a fresh set of downs in Castle territory.

Iaea and Apereamo Sulu rushed for two scores apiece, Holtz accounted for 273 yards of offense and Kyle Kinney put the exclamation point on the game with a 37-yard pick-6 in the fourth quarter.

The scoreboard didn’t lie: Damien soundly outperformed the Knights on both sides of the ball. But Klaneski saw the game from a different perspective.

“To be honest, we didn’t play very well tonight,” he said. “We capitalized on some of the mistakes they made but we really gotta go back and look at ourselves and clean up a lot of things. We didn’t play very well to come out. I’m not very happy right now with our performance.

“Luckily, we were able to do some things in the second half where we could pull away and things like that but in order for us to be a good football team, we gotta play better. We had way too much penalties, things like that — missed plays on defense and a lot of missed tackling so there’s a lot of work we gotta do on ourselves.”

Echoing those thoughts was Holtz, who was penalized in the third quarter for unsportsmanlike conduct after a 28-yard rushing touchdown.

“We feel we didn’t play to our performance,” he said. “We gotta fix it up, correct our mistakes and get ready for Leilehua next week.”

When Holtz got back to the sideline following his touchdown, he was ordered to do push-ups.

“My offensive coordinator told me to do it. It was just a discipline thing,” he said. “I regret (getting penalized), it doesn’t show our character well at Damien.”

No. 10 Leilehua improved to 4-1 in a 41-0 rout over Aiea on Friday. A 24-20 loss to No. 7 Moanalua on Aug. 30 is its only blemish so far. Klaneski hopes his squad can match the Mules’ when the two teams meet next Friday.

“We just gotta get back to the film room and get back to practice and correct some of those mistakes we made tonight and hopefully we can play a little better next week,” he said.

Next week’s matchup between the Mules and Monarchs will pit two Top-10 teams against each other in Wahiawa. A win would give Damien its best start to a season in school history.

“It feels great,” Holtz said. “We put in work all season and it’s paying off. We just gotta keep it rolling.”


  1. Lol September 7, 2019 6:34 am

    Lol anyone know what Holtz did to get penalized

  2. DMS strong September 7, 2019 10:28 am

    Jake pointed at the defender as he was heading to the endzone. Totally not him at all but with all the trash talking that was going on it was justified penalty…

  3. No Punks September 22, 2019 10:59 am

    I think Jake Holtz is exactly the player who was penalized for slapping an Iolani player after he made an errant pitch that resulted in a 3rd quarter turnover. He does that same thing in basketball games. Opposite of humble opposite of a sportsman.

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