There is plenty of hospitality when it comes to the Mililani Trojans.
Their recent trip to American Samoa built friendships with the Vikings of Fagaitua that showed on Friday night. Selfies with Mililani and Vikings players, who are visiting Oahu, on the sideline, lots of smiles and memories. Before that festive time, Mililani was less generous on the field. The third-ranked Trojans took care of business on the turf of John Kauinana Stadium with a 32-0 win over No. 4 Kahuku.
It was an endless supply of big plays on defense and special teams by Mililani, which needed that boost on a night when its offense generated just 128 total yards against a sturdy Kahuku defense.
For Kahuku, the frustration of being scoreless for a half was nearly vented early in the third quarter. After a muffed punt return by Mililani, Kahuku was at the Trojans’ 32-yard line with momentum building. Sophomore Tiger Adolpho’s quick-trigger passes were effective.
But Wynden Ho‘ohuli burst through Kahuku’s pass protection and sacked Adolpho, forcing a fumble that seemed to bounce and bounce toward the sideline forever. Mililani’s Mark Pasternak recovered the ball near the Kahuku bench, covering the ball on the ground. As he rose, he was tackled by multiple Kahuku players, and then a mini-melee ensued.
“The ball came out. I saw the ball, ran to it. The offense ran to it and there was some kind of beef on the field,” Pasternak said. “I didn’t hear a whistle. It’s just football. It was going crazy. Balls to the wall, people flying all over the place, fists flying. There was the whole Kahuku offense on the pile and only three of us from defense. It was real fun being the mix. It was real chaotic, but over here, we have a phrase called ‘controlled chaos’. You get to make plays.”
When the rubber granules settled, three Red Raiders were ejected, including standout right tackle Micah Soliai-Howlett. Coach Sterling Carvalho said he and his staff will study the video and appeal to the league. Without an appeal, all three players would be automatically suspended for the next game against Waianae. One of them, he added, was on the sideline, not on the field.
It was a game of smashmouth football at times, but it was Mililani quarterback Brendyn Agbayani who consistently hit high-percentage quick passes to stretch Kahuku’s defense sideline to sideline that eased the pressure.
It came down to some bizarro plays like the fumble recovery by Pasternak. With two personal fouls assessed on Kahuku, Mililani moved 30 yards downfield and scored on the ensuing play to open the lead to 26-0 in the third quarter.
Early in the game, it was tackles for loss on back-to-back plays by Mililani’s defense that set the tone. Kahuku’s opening series ended when Sonny Semeatu sacked QB Mana Fonoimoana-Vaomu in the end zone for a safety.
Fonoimoana-Vaomu is dangerous as an option quarterback, but Mililani’s defensive discipline nipped that possibility in the bud. Kahuku tallied three carries of 10 or more yards, and they were all in the first half. The visitors finished with 27 rushing yards on 28 carries.