Pilares puts Damien on his back vs. Pac-Five
What started out as Damien's homecoming game against Pac-Five quickly turned into "The Kealoha Pilares Show," as the Monarchs defeated the Wolfpack 41-10 last night at Kamehameha Schools' Kunuiakea Athletic Complex. The senior tailback ran for 296 yards and five touchdowns on 18 carries.
"I just give it up to my O-line for being in the right place at the right time," Pilares said. "That's the trust that I have in them and I'm thankful for them doing their job, because it makes my job much easier."
Damien (4-4, 2-3 Interscholastic League of Honolulu) forced Pac-Five to punt on its first drive, and then the Monarchs running back took over. Pilares ran four times for 37 yards and capped the scoring drive with a 29-yard scamper for a score with 6:35 to play in the first quarter to put Damien up 7-0.
Pilares entered the game as the ILH's rushing leader with an average of 115.8 yards per game. In the first half alone, he compiled 208 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries.
"We give him the ball, and he's gonna do whatever he has to do to help our team win," Damien co-head coach Dean Nakagawa said. "If he has to rush for 300 yards and five touchdowns, then he's gonna do it. If he's gotta block or return kicks, he'll do whatever we ask him to do. He's just a great scholar-athlete and a good role model for all the younger guys in our program."
Pilares ran 57 yards for another touchdown to open the second quarter. After a Matthew Tom extra point, the score stood at 14-0 in favor of Damien.
On the Wolfpack's ensuing drive, Jordan Ho-Ching provided a spark to get the offense going. He ran for gains of 26 and 22 yards, putting Pac-Five in the red zone. But the Monarch defense held strong and forced Josh Mun to kick a 27-yard field goal, making the score 14-3.
After Damien got the ball on the kickoff, the Monarchs stuck with the successful ground attack. Pilares took another run 57 yards to the house with 5:43 to play in the first half, and a successful PAT boosted the Monarch lead to 21-3.
Damien forced another punt and wound up with the ball on its own 46-yard line. After moving the ball on the ground and controlling the clock, Sheldon Bailey scored on a 4-yard burst, increasing the Monarch lead to 28-3 with a little more than 2 minutes to play in the second quarter.
The Wolfpack (2-7, 0-5 ILH) had the makings of a strong drive to end the half, but quarterback Jon-Ray Rodrigues fumbled the exchange from center, and Damien recovered near midfield. The Monarchs ran out the clock and took the 25-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
Pac-Five recovered an onside kick to open the second half, but turned the ball over on downs.
On the resulting possession, Pilares took another handoff 54 yards to the end zone for his fourth touchdown of the game just 1 minute into the second half. The extra point was missed, but the Monarchs still had a commanding 34-3 lead.
The Monarchs later cashed in as Pilares ran in for a score from 22 yards out with 7:40 remaining in the third, increasing the deficit to 41-3, and putting the mercy rule into effect.
With 4 minutes left in the game, Pac-Five scored its lone touchdown of the contest on a 5-yard run by Phillip Sarubbi. The score proved to be the final tally on the scoreboard.
"We played well last week (against Kamehameha), but like I told the guys at halftime, one or two plays made the difference," Nakagawa said. "(There were) a lot of positive things going on with homecoming, and it was an overall good job."