By Billy Hull
Things don’t come quite as easy this time of the year.
No. 8 Mililani shot out to a 28-point halftime lead before Kaimuki gave the crowd at John Kauinana Stadium some anxious moments. Not until Viliami Fonokalafi was stopped inches short on a fourth-down attempt with 5 minutes remaining could the Trojans feel comfortable in holding on for a 47-35 win last night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red division playoffs.
Mililani (7-2, 5-2) will travel to the North Shore to face top-seeded Kahuku next week.
The Trojans carved up the Bulldogs defense in the first half to the tune of 34 points. Trent McKinney threw four touchdown passes, including three to junior Bryson Calma, as the Bulldogs (2-7, 2-5) had no answer for Mililani’s passing attack.
Kaimuki came out firing in the second half, as quarterback Eddie Char, who completed only two passes in the first half, had completions of 50 and 28 yards to set up his 8-yard touchdown run to pull to 34-14.
Chester Sua, who scored on an 86-yard kickoff return and finished with 123 yards on 14 carries, scored on an 11-yard run on the first play of the third quarter to make it a two-possession game.
Mililani answered as Nainoa Pihana, filling in for McKinney, who was knocked out of the game for two plays, scored on a 3-yard keeper to put Mililani back up 41-21.
Fonokalafi answered with a 1-yard touchdown run and the Bulldogs recovered the onside kick to give themselves a chance. Kaimuki drove into the red zone, but Fonokalafi was stopped inches short of the marker on fourth down at the 8.
Mililani’s Elijah Langafuaina intercepted a Char pass with 3 minutes left after the Bulldogs had forced a three and out.
McKinney finished with 270 all-purpose yards for the Trojans. Char was 11-for-33 for 214 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing) for Kaimuki.
The teams didn’t stop fighting until the end. Kris Ornellas returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown with 1:04 remaining. But Char answered with a 19-yard pass to Chris Fiamate with 27 seconds left as the two teams combined for 82 points.
Word of Life 50, Damien 42
The Firebrands needed three overtimes to turn back the Monarchs and earn their first ILH win.
Word of Life was 0-for-12 in conference games since fielding a team for the first time last year.