You can’t beat Mililani unless you find a way to stop Jalen Olomua first, and ‘Iolani learned the hard way.
Yes, the Trojans’ intricate passing game is a worry against defenses, but dealing with Olomua is no picnic — on both sides of the ball. At running back, Olomua romped for 98 yards on 11 carries in Mililani’s 31-20 victory over the Raiders for the Division I state championship Friday night.
Olomua, who scored two rushing touchdowns in the win, also caught three passes for 59 yards. Yardage is one thing, but the attitude he carries about not going down is even more important. He hit ‘Iolani hard every time he touched the ball and many times it took a gang to tackle him.
It was like a punch to ‘Iolani’s solar plexus, especially in the second half, when the Raiders (5-8) were trying to fight back from a 17-10 deficit. Olomua’s 37-yard run on Mililani’s first drive of the second half set up his 28-yard TD run for a 24-10 lead.
“Offensively, it all starts from the trenches, you know,” the 6-foot, 210-pounder said. “The defense, all credit to the DBs because they held it down in the back and they let us have the time to get sacks.”
Oh … wait … Olomua also had two sacks on D for an unbelievable night that the junior is likely to remember forever.
After the game, Olomua (or “Petersen,” which was printed on the back of his No. 35 jersey throughout the whole second half after his “Olomua” No. 10 jersey ripped before the halftime break) appeared to be teary-eyed.
When asked if he was crying, Olomua said, “No. It’s going to hit me tomorrow. Or it might hit me on the bus ride back home.”
As for his powerful running style, Olomua said, “Just try to get as many yards as I can because I’m trying to not get yelled at from Coach (Rod) York and all the coaches. All the credit to our O-line for the job they did for me and the quarterback (Dillon Gabriel, 190 passing yards) and the other running backs (including Darius Muasau, 103 yards on 22 carries).”
York, who has now led Mililani (9-3) to two Division I championships in the last three seasons, chimed in about the big two-way standout:
“We are so proud of Olomua. He has made changes in his life and it shows in his grades and attitude toward his academics. Thus, it has affected his play on our team. Jalen is our workhorse on defense and offense and his running ability and vision was key in this game. He is our MVP for this final game.”