Maybe the headline on this post is stating the obvious, but it’s worth repeating after Mililani’s 21-9 win over Leilehua on Saturday in the OIA Red quarterfinals.
The Trojans’ defense is legit.
Mililani’s defensive unit failed to give up a single point as Leilehua scored on a fumble return for a touchdown and a safety. The Mules, who had scored 66 against Waipahu and 54 versus Moanalua in their last two games, were held to 145 total yards of offense.
Leilehua senior Justin Jenks got the start at quarterback but could do very little against the Mililani pass rush. Any success the Mules had came running the ball with Randy Neverson and Ikaika Piceno.
Once the Mules got in third-and-long situations however, they had no chance. Leilehua was 0-for-11 on third-down conversions.
Mililani’s pass rush is ferocious with defensive end Kelii Padello leading the way. Padello had two sacks in the game and has recorded eight sacks in the three Mililani games I’ve seen this season (four vs. Punahou, two in each game against Leilehua). He also came up with a huge tackle for loss, stopping Piceno on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Padello had plenty of help in this game as 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive lineman Rex Manu had two sacks. Junior Tamatoa Silva (6-2, 270) also had a sack and senior linebacker Kaimana Wilson (5-10, 185) made two big plays late, sacking Jenks on fourth down and intercepting a pass to seal the victory.
Mililani has held four teams below 10 points, including Moanalua in interleague play. No. 1 Punahou was held to its lowest scoring output of the season in a 24-14 win back in August.
Teams can run on the Trojans, but one thing seems certain. If Mililani can get a lead and force opposing teams to be one-dimensional, then the Trojans have you exactly where they want you.
Up next: Kahuku in the OIA Red semifinals on Thursday night at Aloha Stadium.