Mililani had a lot of questions at the offensive skill positions coming into the season, and coach Rod York took a wait-and-see approach.
Vavae Malepeai answered the question at running back with successive games over the century mark. Robert Falefine and McKenzie Milton are still waging the battle at quarterback. York honestly wasn’t sure what the future held for his team at those positions, but he was sure of one thing:
“We have a lot of guys competing,” he said before the season. “But one of them is going to step up to be Mililani’s next great receiver.”
Three games into the season, it appears he has his answer. Bronsen Ader has led the team in receiving in each game and broke out with a 116-yard effort last week against Kapolei.
Here is what York had to work with when camp broke this fall, courtesy of youtube:
That effort doesn’t even approach the school’s top-10 receiving games, coming in 19th, but the senior transfer from Campbell is just getting started. He led the Sabers in receiving yards in only one game last year, he has already led the Trojans in the category three times. Best of all for Mililani, his performance against Kapolei suggested that the system will be just fine without Jarrin Morikawa.
100-yard receiving games in Mililani history
(players from York’s three years as coach in bold)
Deshawn Duncan-Benson, 6
Hassan Richardson, 4
Preston Sinn, 3
Jon Santos, 3
Taz Stevenson, 3
Erren Jean-Pierre, 2
Nate Adams, 2
Jarrett Jose-Santiago, 2
Kainoa Wilson, 1
Kaimi Wilson, 1
Bronson Ader, 1
Ekolu Ramos, 1
Trent Cole, 1
Nick Rogers, 1
Andrew Tokumi, 1
David Rivers, 1
Michael Smith, 1
Jose Serato, 1
Kekoa Perbera, 1
Trey Brown, 1
Ader should have no problem getting open on Friday at Waianae, since the Trojans seem to have the Seariders’ pass defense solved. When Waianae held Ekolu Ramos to 85 yards in a 35-7 loss last year, it was the first time in seven meetings that Mililani failed to have a receiver exceed 100 yards. Breaking down the above chart further, three of Richardson’s four games over 100 yards came against the Seariders and two of Stevenson’s did. Duncan Benson had only one of his six century games against Waianae.
Waianae leads the series between the teams 19-8, but that is more of a nod to history than a recent trend. The Trojans lost the first 13 times they met the Seariders since fielding their first football team under John Kauinana in 1975, only one of those losses coming within a seven points. Miliani broke the streak with a 14-10 win in 2002 when running back Billy Barbour scored from a yard out with 42 seconds left.
Mililani holds the edge 7-6 since Barbour broke through, including the last three in a row.