Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, June 23, 2001


O’Donnell leaves
door open to
play St. Louis

Schedule changes may make
playing St. Louis bearable,
Damien head says

By Dave Reardon

The Monarchs might take the field against the Crusaders after all.

Damien Memorial High School president Br. Gregory O'Donnell told an island-wide radio audience yesterday that "information he hadn't thought about previously" could lead to Damien playing its varsity football game against Interscholastic League of Honolulu opponent St. Louis this fall.

O'Donnell had decided that the Monarchs, who have lost their last six games to the Crusaders by a combined score of 415-7, would forfeit against the national power this season. Protests from Damien parents and players earlier this week did little to soften his stance.

"The chances of changing this decision are slim to none," O'Donnell said Wednesday after meeting with parents and players. "I've heard nothing that would change my mind."

But when asked yesterday on KCCN-1420's "Weekend Warrior" sports talk show if the ILH's new format - which has each team playing seven games instead of 10 - would make him reconsider, O'Donnell responded positively.

"We haven't closed the door on things," O'Donnell said.

"Being steadfast is a virtue," he added later. "Being stubborn is not."

He said he did not realize earlier that a shorter schedule could mean less wear and tear on the Monarchs, giving them a better chance to compete with the Crusaders.

A league season with fewer games - and only one game instead of two against each of traditional powers St. Louis and Kamehameha - conceivably helps teams with less depth, such as Damien, Pac-Five and Iolani.

Last year, Damien lost its first game to St. Louis, 49-7, and the second game, 84-0. The trend was similar every year from 1997 to 1999, when the score was much more lopsided the second time the teams played.

When told of O'Donnell's latest comments, St. Louis head coach and athletic director Cal Lee said he would hold off on replacing Damien on the schedule.

"We'll wait. We won't do it without knowing (Damien's intentions)," Lee said. "If someone initiates wanting to play us, we'll first give Brother a call to see if Damien will play.

"For us, we lost three games (to the new format), and then four. That's not enough games for us," Lee added. "We would love to play Damien and continue our friendly rivalry. We will definitely look forward to it. I hope that Brother in his wisdom can see that the (Damien) boys and parents and alumni want the game to happen."

Damien football team mother Lua Tuiasosopo said O'Donnell's comments are "wonderful news."

"He told us he would leave the door open, but to the media he was firm. Now that he said what he said publicly, this answers a lot of our prayers and is a good end to a stressful week," she said. "As of today we were still circulating a petition among parents, alumni and the community. We're still strategizing our next step.

"Now that the schedule has Damien playing St. Louis only once, more so the boys should play the game," she added. "The good thing out of all this is the alumni is coming out and showing support finally."

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin