Hawaii Prep World will be releasing summer previews of all 29 Oahu varsity football teams in advance of the 2017 season that kicks off in early August.
10TH IN A SERIES
>> 2016 record and finish: 9-3 (5-2 OIA Red); lost 36-33 to Waianae in the OIA D-I quarterfinals, beat Leilehua 63-42 in an OIA consolation game, beat Baldwin 49-28 in the state D-I (second tier) first round, beat Leilehua 51-35 in the state D-I semifinals, beat ‘Iolani 31-20 in the state D-I state championship game.
>> Number of returning starters: 9 offense, 7 defense
>> Number of returning seniors: 15 offense, 10 defense
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 2 offense, 4 defense
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 29
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: Andrew Valladares, first-team REC, Dustin Gapusan, third-team CB.
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: Jalen Olomua, second-team LB; Damien Santiago, second-team PK; Scottie Agasiva, second-team OL; Noah WIlliams, second-team OL.
>> Among 2017 key offensive returnees: Noah Williams, Sr., C, 6-0, 285; Scottie Agasiva, Sr., OL, 6-0, 300; Dillon Gabriel, Jr., QB, 175.
>> Among 2017 key defensive returnees: Darius Muasau, Jr., LB, 6-0 220; Micah Tuiolemotu Jr., DL, 6-0, 240; Veniah Melesiah, Sr., DB, 6-0; Asher Pilanca, Jr., DB, 6-0, 180; Tasi Malepeai , DL, 6-0, 220.
>> Trojans with Division I FBS college offers: Scottie Agasiva, OL (Utah); Dillon Gabriel, QB (Navy)
>> All-time state championships: 2 (both D-I — 2014, 2016)
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: 3 (all D-I — 2010, 2013, 2014)
>> 2017 conference: OIA D-I
>> 2017 state tournament declaration: Division I-Open
Head coach ROD YORK on the Trojans’ outlook for 2017:
“Things are looking good in the offseason summer training because we are in shorts and shirts. We will see how well we have prepared when we get the pads. We have about 71 kids on the varsity roster and 23 on JV with incoming freshmen yet to come because we are on a track system. We’ll try to keep everyone on the roster unless they cut themselves or they will be released from offseason training for repeated behavior problems. Tryouts start on the 17th of July.
“Offensively we’re a year older. We return nine starters on offense and we will go as much as our O-line goes. All five O-linemen return and of the five, two will be sophomores and the three seniors are All-State potential kids. We believe Noah Williams and Scottie Agasiva are two of the best in the state because of their film and production. Our backups will play because they have worked hard enough to be contributors. Last year’s wide receiver and slot backups worked very hard and now they are legit threats who can move the chains and make big plays when we need to. Our QB and both returning starting wide receivers are juniors. So, although we are seasoned this year, we are still youthful with more depth. Again, we will find out when we get the pads.
“Our defense has been revamped beginning with our coaches. We hired former Campbell defensive coordinator Vince Nihipali and we also hired two former Campbell assistants. Vince has already brought much to our team and will be the difference-maker in our games. Vince is a veteran guy who has much knowledge on how to motivate young kids. We return seven guys on defense and our team speed is the best it has ever been.
“The biggest difference between last year and this year will be our team attitude. Last year we suspended 11 kids before a postseason game for a half, due to poor choices. We lost our lead to Waianae due to three personal foul penalties on Waianae’s final drive. One foul was on third and 13 with their QB throwing an incomplete pass out of their own end zone. We gave up a 21-point lead and lost at Kailua. We got demolished during our homecoming to Kapolei in which we fumbled the ball on the second play and committed nine first-half penalties to their zero penalties. These are the type of things that haunted us last year and I promised that it will never happen again.
“Being the head coach and leader of our program, the team attitude falls on me. After last year’s ‘Iolani game, the next day we revamped our program. How could we improve our program? What good is winning if we are undisciplined and our team attitude is selfish? The answer: We paid more attention to the details going into this year. We targeted our problems and addressed it. We targeted our problem kids and corrected it. It started with me making changes personally and being a better leader. I got my health right and changed my perspective of the kids. I spent more time with my team. I took on the responsibility of the most important coach, the strength coordinator. I normally delegate that position, but this year I run and train all the kids. The weight room is where I saw our work ethic and the reality of our team. We cut corners, cheated reps and sets, came late, missed lifts, wore slippers while lifting, etc. But the worst thing that I saw in the weight room is that we didn’t push when we reached the burning point. We didn’t challenge ourselves to push the last two or three most important reps. Our mind-set was not right.
“I really got to know my players better so that I could understand their problems and thought processes. I always considered myself a good coach with many accolades to back it up. I preach about attaining results. But this offseason I really looked in the mirror and asked myself, why are we having these problems? Me and coach Maa Tanuvasa are on campus and handle all the problems with our kids. Why are we having these problems when we are on top of our kids’ grades, attendance and behavior in school? We are all about discipline. Kids know the consequences, yet they still do bad things knowing they will get disciplined. This year I learned that what I thought was good coaching was not enough. In fact, I now look back and say I have not been the coach/mentor I thought I was. Championships and coach of the year awards don’t mean (anything) except the results we attain. In learning my kids’ lifestyles I opened my eyes and was shocked to learn our kids’ problems. I had no clue on how deep some of their issues ran.
“My kids were not pushing in the weight room because they didn’t know how to push. They never lifted with their father or uncle because dad is always busy working two jobs or tending to the younger siblings. Many never threw football with their fathers. The kid who wore slippers wore them because he didn’t want to burden his parents with another expense because he knew money was tight and he can’t find big sizes except online. Too many of our players do not eat other than before they leave home and when they return home. Some kids can’t push because they have no energy. I asked many of our kids when is the last time they drank water other than football practice and they can’t remember. One kid sleeps in summer school because he’s having problems with dad and got kicked out of the house so he’s hanging out with the wrong people. One of our kids only uses his home to sleep because he doesn’t stay home, for his own reason. He’s out all night. A kid comes late because he’s so far behind in schoolwork he had to go make up work. His bad attendance is because he is the man of the house and has to watch his siblings while mom has to work, so he skips school and sometimes practice. I walked past a coach last week and he was going to feed two kids after practice. I asked the kids when is the last time you had a cooked meal? They didn’t answer. So I invited them to my house and gave them something they haven’t had in a whiIe, a good old-fashioned, all-heart-and-love home-cooked meal. The two kids ate like they never ate and enjoyed it because it wasn’t a Hot Pocket, saimin or some McDonald’s dollar menu item. Those problems on top of girl problems, family deaths, illnesses, etc. The list is endless. I learned little things about our kids that I had no clue about and how important it was to reach these kids. Our kids have problems like other programs have problems, but it was shocking to see how deep some of our kids’ problems are.
“While visiting top high school coaches and programs, 100 percent have (some) negative feelings towards parents and I totally understand why. But if we want to motivate these kids, then parents need to be involved and informed. So Mililani football embraced parents and we increased parent communication. Parents are nuts at times, but there is no manual to parenting. We look at the parents getting nuts and emotional and we equate that to their love for their child. They are fighting for their kid because that is their way of showing them love. So I love when parents and I meet because once we get on the same page, the child will blossom. And it doesn’t matter what race, religion, or whatever … that is a proven formula in Mililani football. Parent involvement is the No. 1 factor to student success. The biggest thing I tell parents is to support your child and get involved. Normal conversation: How’s school? Good. Did your homework? Yup. End of conversation. Parents simply need to support their kids by doing more. Their involvement needs to be as much when the kids are in high school as it was when they were born to elementary school years. Middle school and high school teenage years are most stressful for this generation is much different than when we grew up because of technology and social media, etc. People in Hawaii can communicate to anyone in the world at any time of the day. The best way for parents to help their kid is not buying them the most expensive items. Buy what they need and what is most important is to spend quality time together. These kids are fragile no matter how big they are and the world is not so nice at times. This will empower the kids to make wiser choices.
“We hold our kids accountable. We have always done so, but this year we have taken it to the infinite power. Our Mililani faculty and counselors are so awesome. Our administration team is No. 1 and most supportive. They make it possible for coaches to be more effective with our kids because their heart is always kids first. They are hands-on with the boys and they help us keep track of them. Parents and supporters are in the community and they have given us more eyes on our kids. I now have access to their grades, so I make them do grade checks, but I can see their most recent grade down to completed homework assignments when I need to. About six kids would not have taken summer school and would have been on probation if not for this privilege of seeing their grades. I told parents and reminded kids every week in the last four weeks, but we still had kids with an F that would have been on ARS next year who were not in summer school simply because they didn’t monitor themselves.
“We’re going to do our best and that’s all I can ask of our kids. We want them to take care of the little details and to do their job. One, attitude. Two, execution. Three, do your job. We focus on those three. Wherever we land, that’s where it’s going to be. As a coach, we want them to do their best, win or lose and always be happy because we played with great effort and executed. Most important, we teach our kids right from wrong and hold them accountable every step of the way. I work with our leadership team and pay attention to them so they can learn to lead and be better people themselves. Life lessons are most important and winning games is the carrot I hold in front of them. Because this is a football state, football will teach these kids how to fail and come back stronger, how to set goals and go smash them, how to deal with adversity and overcome it, and most important how to be a team player and work together as one.
“We are looking forward to a great season. This is our strongest, most accountable, and fastest team ever since I’ve been head coach, but we will see when we get the pads if that equates to wins. We don’t have the best talent compared to the top five teams, but we have enough talent to compete in the final week once our kids learn to play together and make beautiful music. We must be mentally stronger and as I’ve learned from coach Enrique Rodriguez, a long-time boxing guru, “We must have a solid mind-set.” And we will this year.
2017 Mililani football schedule
Subject to change. Click here for the latest schedule updates.
Thursday, July 27
>> Mililani at Waipahu (scrimmage)
Friday, July 28
>> Three-way scrimmage: Damien, Mililani, Waianae (at Waianae)
Saturday, July 29
>> Mililani at Kamehameha (scrimmage)
Friday, Aug. 4
>> Mililani at Kahuku (scrimmage)
Friday, Aug. 11
>> Mililani at Kaiser
Friday, Aug. 18
>> Leilehua at Mililani
Saturday, Aug. 26
>> Mililani at Castle
Friday, Sept. 1
>> Mililani at Clayton Valley Charter (Concord, Calif.), nonleague
Friday, Sept. 8
>> Mililani at Farrington
Friday, Sept. 15
>> Mililani at Kapolei
Saturday, Sept. 23
>> Nanakuli at Mililani
Saturday, Sept. 30
>> Kailua at Mililani
2017 Mililani varsity football staff
>> Head coach and special teams: Rod York (66-19, eighth season)
>> Wide receivers: Eric Stephens, Junior Iosua
>> Slotbacks: Tito Sallas, Brendyn Agbayani
>> Slotbacks and JV offensive coordinator: Henry Pilanca
>> Quarterbacks: Garrett Gabriel
>> Running backs: Jeff Cadiz
>> Offensive line: Pat Mauga, Hideki Aoki, Taylor Hamilton, Pat Penitani
>> Offensive line and tight ends: Tim Dunn
>> Defensive line: Silila Malepeai, Matt Musau
>> Linebackers and special teams: Maa Tanuvasa
>> Linebackers: Guyes Galdeira
>> Linebackers and JV head coach/defensive coordinator: Bruce Scanlan
>> Defensive backs: Danilo Viloria
>> Defensive backs: Roland Mason
>> Defensive coordinator: Vince Nihipali
>> Video coordinator: Jason Favela
>> Director of player personnel: Josh Watase
>> Team mom assistant: Heidi Motoyama
>> Quality Control: Lynn York
>> Parent coordinator: Lii Furuta and family
>> Managers: Kailey Shook Rogers, Kiley Shook Rogers, Michelle Banks, Missy Arvey