The Punahou defense did exactly what it needed to do to slow down Mililani’s offense in Saturday night’s 43-21 victory at the Trojans’ John Kauinana Stadium.
The Buffanblu (3-1, 3-1 ILH Open) wound up sacking star quarterback Dillon Gabriel six times, including three by another guy with the first name of Dillon — Dillon Lundberg.
In the defensive backfield, Trent Shiraki came up with two of his team’s three interceptions of Gabriel.
No. 3 Mililani (3-2, 1-0 OIA Open) is not used to being shut down, but No. 5 Punahou had the right people in the right places.
According to Shiraki, middle linebacker Maninoa Tufono moved to the outside, and outside linebacker Marist Liufau moved to the inside to spy on Gabriel, who can also hurt you with his running.
Gabriel was held in check. Liufau had two of the sacks and also came up with a fumble recovery after a strip by Kennedy Freeman.
Another player Buffanblu coach Kale Ane was worried about — Trojans running back Kilifi Malepeai — got his yards (154 on the ground) and a 21-yard touchdown but he was also on the receiving end of numerous gang tackles.
Ane wasn’t kidding when he said last week that it takes more than one person to take Malepeai down.
Usually, the Mililani offense wants to outscore the opponents, shootout or not. A shootout didn’t happen.
Punahou’s offense was on the money, especially during the first half, when quarterback Hugh Brady fired four touchdown passes for a 35-14 lead at the break.
Brady wound up throwing for 378 yards. Tamatoa Falatea caught nine balls for 196 yards and two TDs, and Koa Eldredge made just two catches, but both went for TDs (of 75 and 52 yards).
Gabriel threw for 304 yards and two of the Trojans’ three TDs.
“We practiced for Dillon because we know he’s talented in both running and passing,” the Buffanblu’s Shiraki said. “Everyone did their job. No one was selfish. We were team players and did what we were supposed to do and this is the outcome.”
Ane said afterward that the goal was to contain Gabriel.
“It was a total group effort,” he said. “We worked hard all week on coverage. The windows (for Gabriel) were tiny, but he still put some in there. I’m really happy. The coverage was good.”
Mililani had two 100-yard plus receivers — Maka Hill (seven catches, 115 yards) and Ryan Chang (nine catches, 129 yards).
Kaulana Makaula also made an interception for Punahou, and Yoshi Kobayashi came through with a sack.
In scrimmage yards, Punahou (378 passing, 91 rushing) outgained Mililani (304 passing, 131 rushing) 469-435.
The Trojans, who have lost two in a row (including a 52-14 loss to the No. 1 team in the nation, St. John Bosco of Bellflower, Calif., last week), will try to get back on the winning track next Saturday at home against undefeated No. 4 Campbell (4-0, 1-0 OIA Open).
Punahou has a big one next Saturday at Aloha Stadium against ILH rival and No. 1 Saint Louis (3-0, 2-0 ILH Open).