Male Athlete of the Week: Shawn Borges, Damien football
Story by: Michael Lasquero/SL
Scoring on the Damien Monarchs won't come easy when Shawn Borges is on patrol.
The junior linebacker blocked three field goals and had the game-sealing interception in the Monarchs' 6-3 win over Pac-Five last Friday night. Borges also added six tackles as Damien improved to 5-0 in the first time in school history.
"Sean is one of the best athletes on our team," said Damien coach Eddie Klaneski, whose team is ranked fourth in the latest ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Division II Football Power Rankings. "He did a great job for us on defense covering down and made just a bunch of big plays.
"Prior to the game it was funny, he goes ‘coach I'm going to give you chest bump if we make a play tonight,' and I said ‘yeah, we're probably going to have three of those' and it worked out. We talked about getting interceptions and he just came up big with the three big blocked field goals."
With Bransen Apao making his first start under center, Damien's defense and special teams unit needed to pick up the slack when the offense could not turn drives into points.
"It was a good team effort," said Borges. "The offense didn't do that well but the defense had to pick it up and I just thank God for the opportunity to play."
The Monarchs' defense also did a solid job pressuring Pac-Five quarterback Kainoa Ferreira. The Wolfpack's signal-caller passed for four scores in Pac-Five's previous contest, but found little success against Damien and was intercepted twice with no touchdowns.
"We held this team down as much as we could and we didn't let them get into the end zone" said Klaneski. "That was a huge goal for us and we're proud of our team."
Dylan Tapat returned Ferreira's first interception of the night to the Pac-Five 7-yard line to help set up Damien's only score of the game — a keeper by Apao — one play later. This gave Damien a 6-3 lead with 5:04 remaining in the first quarter.
"When the offense is struggling the other part of the team has got to pick it up," said Klaneski. "We came together tonight and we won as a team."
Damien could not get anything going the rest of the way, but Pac-Five threatened to score in each of the following three quarters. Pac-Five kicker Tyler Fukuroda, who booted a 28-yard field goal for the first points of the game, could have easily been the hero of the game if it wasn't Borges.
Coming off the left side of the defensive formation, Borges preserved Damien's lead with a blocked field goal in every quarter after the first.
"My coaches just told me to do it and I believed it would work so I just went after it," Borges said on the blocked field goals.
The threat of Borges around the corner played a huge factor in Pac-Five's decision to go for the win when the Wolfpack faced a fourth-and-goal situation at the Monarchs' 9-yard line with less than two minutes to play in regulation. Borges was able to step in front of a pass intended for Travis Kaloa and Damien was able to hold on for the win.
"It was fourth down and we wanted to pump up the crowd," Borges said on his interception. "I just dropped back into coverage and saw the ball coming for me so I went to go get it."
Damien will have a week off before taking on Saint Francis.