Can run. Can pass.
It won’t be easy for opponents to stop Mililani this season, even without the three departed superstars that fired up the offense for three seasons in a row.
The sixth-ranked Trojans rushed (yes, you read that correctly … rushed) for 335 yards in a 42-0 home rout of previously unbeaten Castle. But, what’s more, sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel was highly effective, completing 14 of 20 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
Gabriel released his passes quickly and he was on target on the short, medium and long throws. He nimbly moved around in the pocket, making it difficult for the Knights to get a clean hit in. The Castle defense sacked him just once (by Darrien Fauolo), and even then he almost escaped.
But passing, though impressive, was not what made people’s heads turn. It was running backs Jalen Olomua and Kaliohu Kila who did that. Both went over 100 yards and both benefitted from the solid play of the offensive line, which is anchored by senior Noah Williams and junior Scottie Agasiva.
“We don’t go unless the O-line goes,” Trojans head coach Rod York said.
Defensively, Mililani pitched the shutout, getting some big plays from Mykah Tuiolemotu (fumble recovery) and Xayvion Kenion (interception). Keawe Fox, Joshua Banks, Darius Muasau and Jacob McLaughlin all recorded a sack, and Tasi Malepeai and Olomua (a linebacker on defense) each had a tackle for loss.
A junior defensive lineman, Malepeai is the brother of Hawaii’s all-time leading rusher Vavae Malepeai, who is a 2016 Mililani graduate now playing for USC.
Overall, the Mililani defense held Castle to 100 yards from scrimmage.
Olomua, who rushed for 126 yards on six carries and a touchdown, talked about his transfer from Kahuku, where he played two seasons ago, and about where the Trojans (2-0, 2-0 Oahu Interscholastic Association Red) are at this early stage of the season.
“At first, I missed (Kahuku), but as the days went along, we just bonded,” he said. “I did it to stay home with grandpa, who lives in Mililani. He wanted me closer, so I just moved in with him.
“All we have to do is improve from today, always getting better. It all shows in the games if we work or not. Practice makes better.”
Asked if York felt the Trojans were clicking, Olomua said, “He’s happy, but he said we can do better, and I believe it. If we did way better than today, then he would have been the happiest man on Earth.”
Castle (2-1, 1-1) had trouble getting the ball to playmaker Jeremy McGoldrick, a senior receiver. He finished with minus-2 yards rushing and three catches for 35 yards.
Also, Knights starting quarterback Jaylen Uyemura-Lee missed some time with minor injuries, giving way to backup Makana Smith.
“Jaylen got dinged up and came back into the game,” Castle head coach Nelson Maeda said. “I was surprised he came back in because the (assistant) coach wanted to hold him out. He has some bruises and I know he’ll be back next week.
“We couldn’t quite get him (McGoldrick) the ball like we would have liked to.”