Playing in the heat of a Saturday afternoon on the Garden Isle won’t bother Kauai High School football head coach Derek Borrero too much.
After all, his team has earned the right to host Damien Memorial School in the state tournament.
“It’s a big deal for us, it’s a huge opportunity; especially to have a game on Kauai,” Borrero said. “Our fans are just fired up. Our boosters, our parents, administration, everybody’s just excited.”
As excited as Kauai High is to host a state tournament game, the matchup isn’t just for the fanfare.
The Red Raiders face a stiff test against Damien, who are coming off an ILH DII championship after defeating St. Francis.
“They played five games against a real good St. Francis team, and we played St. Francis in the preseason. So we know that they’re ready,” Borrero said.
When asked what makes Damien such a formidable opponent, Borrero couldn’t help but list off multiple reasons why the Monarchs deserve his team’s respect.
“Talent. (In) all three phases of the game,” he said. “Great offense, defense, special teams, a quarterback that is creative -- we’re really concerned about him -- but we’ve seen enough film and I think that we’ll be more than ready to prepare for this game.”
The signal-caller Borrero has been keeping a close eye on is Monarchs quarterback Marcus Faufata-Pedrina, who has thrown for 1,978 yards, 19 touchdowns to eight interceptions while running for for 402 yards and six scores.
“He’s a creator. If he doesn’t see it down the field if it’s a pass and he’s gotta go, he goes,” Borrero said. “And he’s just so slippery, too. We’ve watched many films on just this one guy. We faced him when he was a sophomore a few years ago and he was good then, even better now.”
But Damien isn’t the only team that poses a threat on Saturday, as Monarchs head coach Eddie Klaneski knows what Kauai has to offer, especially since the Red Raiders will be playing on their home turf.
“I just think (Kauai) is a real tough team,” Klaneski said. “They’re a tough, scrappy team, a really athletic quarterback and they do multiple things on offense and defense so we just gotta kinda prepare ourselves and make sure we have as much film and as much preparation for those guys leading up until Saturday.”
Kauai will look to stand its ground against Damien this Saturday on the Garden Isle at Vidinha Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
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