Dillon Gabriel didn’t think much of his performance on Friday night.
Chances are the Mililani quarterback was in the minority in his assessment.
Gabriel completed 26 of 39 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns and the Trojans captured the OIA Open Division championship with a 27-7 victory over three-time defending champion Kahuku on Friday at Aloha Stadium.
“I didn’t do my part, but luckily we came out with the win,” Gabriel told the Star-Advertiser’s Nick Abramo after the win. ”Kahuku is a great team, but I think we had less mistakes and kind of took advantage of theirs, but at the same time, they played a helluva game.”
Gabriel probably had his two first-half interceptions on his mind in that moment, but he did more than enough to overcome the rare miscues — as did the Mililani defense — to help the Trojans claim the OIA title that had eluded them the previous three years, including last year when Kahuku rallied late for a 35-31 win.
“Hats off to the kids. The kids sacrificed so much and they worked so hard. I know they were disappointed last year and to see them work hard from Feb. 1 and come in and finish tonight’s game, I’m proud of them,” Mililani coach Rod York said.
As the OIA champion, Mililani will face Campbell — which claimed the final state berth with a 42-26 win over Farrington on Friday — in the semifinals of the Open Division state tournament at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Aloha Stadium.
Kahuku will face two-time defending champion Saint Louis in the second game of the semifinal doubleheader — a rematch of the last three top-tier state finals.
“For sure, we have big game coming up,” Gabriel said. “I’m excited to play Campbell. They’re a great team as well. I’m just trying to enjoy this ride.”
Mililani rolled past Campbell 52-14 on Sept. 15 with Gabriel throwing for 371 yards and five scores. Two weeks later, he threw for 312 and two touchdowns in a 38-10 victory over Kahuku that snapped the Red Raiders’ 51-game home winning streak.
Gabriel entered Friday’s rematch with the Red Raiders with 2,994 yards and became the 11th Oahu quarterback to throw for at least 3,000 yards in a season with a 13-yard completion to Ryan Chang on his second attempt of the night. He went back to Chang with a deep ball on the next play and Chang took it the distance for a 67-yard touchdown 62 seconds into the game.
Gabriel completed seven of his first eight attempts 125 yards, then went through a 1-for-6 stretch with the two interceptions in the second quarter. The Mililani defense denied the Red Raiders after both picks and Gabriel got back on track with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Cy Kuboyama-Hayashi. That was part of a run of nine consecutive completions covering 117 yards.
The Trojans effectively put the game away in the third quarter when Gabriel lofted a throw to Reichel Vegas for a 47-yard touchdown in the third quarter and Mililani became the first team to beat Kahuku twice in a season since Leilehua in 1973.
Gabriel already owns the Oahu career passing yardage record and stretched his total to 9,470 yards with Friday’s performance.
Kahuku tied the game at 7-7 with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Robert Sauvao to Mason Paulo in the second quarter. But that would be the only big play surrendered by the Trojans, who hounded Sauvao the rest of the night while stuffing the Red Raiders running game in a dominant performance.