It’s easy to say you will take on anybody in the nation. It’s another thing to actually do it.
Mililani, ranked No. 4 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s preseason Top 10 and featured in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which you can read by clicking here, takes on all comers.
Weaker opponents to pad the schedule? No way. Coach Rod York is always looking for teams who will present the most difficult challenge and he’s done it again this year.
The Trojans have one of the toughest schedules in the nation, with nothing coming close to a lightweight among the 10 opponents.
At the tippity top of that chart in terms of strength is St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.). The Braves finished 2018 as the No. 3 team in the nation in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and is there again to start the 2019 season.
The Braves’ season ended in the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section final with a 17-13 loss to Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), which went on to beat De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) in the Open championship game and finish at No. 1 in the country.
Mililani hosts St. John Bosco on Sept. 21.
The Trojans did not stop there as far as scheduling tough out-of-state opponents. They also play Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) at home on Aug. 30. The Patriots advanced to the Division 4A semifinals before a loss to eventual Nevada state champion Bishop Gorman.
Of course, the Open Division in Hawaii is a major challenge in itself. That string of challenges includes state Open Division champion Saint Louis, which starts the year ranked No. 11 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 after finishing at No. 7 last season.
In its season opener Aug. 9, Mililani visits Campbell in a rematch of last year’s state Open Division semifinal won by the Trojans 24-2.
Punahou, Kahuku and Kamehameha are also on the Mililani calendar.
The Trojans, who lost 38-17 to Saint Louis in the state Open Division final a year ago, went 5-0 to take the OIA Open Division crown in the first season of the OIA-ILH alliance.
Their three other opponents — Waianae, Farrington and Kapolei — all had just one win in 2018, but are retooling for a better outcome this year.
To start it all off, Mililani scrimmaged some of Samoa’s top teams within the last week while on a preseason trip. They return to Oahu on Wednesday.
“It’s been a great, awesome trip so far,” York texted recently. “An eye-opener.”