Leilehua and Mililani renew Central Oahu rivalry

Mililani's Vavae Malepeai scored a touchdown against Leilehua in a 2013 game. (Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser)
Mililani’s Vavae Malepeai scored a touchdown against Leilehua in a 2013 game. (Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser)

Separated by just five miles along Kamehameha Highway, it took a change in division alignments to keep Mililani and Leilehua apart the last two football seasons.

Reunited in the OIA Red this season, the Trojans and Mules close the regular season on Friday with a renewal of the Central Oahu rivalry.

Leilehua leads the series 21-15-1 since its inception in 1975 although Mililani has a 12-5 edge since 2000 and won both meetings in 2013 before the two-year hiatus.

Along with bringing the neighboring programs back together on the field, Friday’s game at Leilehua’s Hugh Yoshida Stadium holds considerable weight for both teams in the division standings.

No. 7 Mililani (4-2, 4-2 OIA Red) can claim the second seed in the division and a first-round bye in the OIA Division I playoffs with a win in the regular-season finale.

“There’s big reasons we’re playing other than the rivalry,” Mililani coach Rod York said. “We’re playing for seeding and byes and confidence. Hopefully a lot of people come out and support.”

A Leilehua (3-4, 3-3) victory would vault the Mules into the third seed, giving them home field for the first round of the playoffs.

“This is going to be momentum going into the playoffs so we want to do well,” Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said. “We’re going to have guys out, but then again at the end of the year everybody has guys out. So next man up, trust the scheme, trust each other and play smart football.”

Mililani enters the final week of the regular season looking to recover from a 34-28 loss to Kailua last Friday after the Trojans bolted out to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.

“It was a long bus ride back,” York said. “But through the adversity we build and reveal character. We’ve seen a lot about our team. We’ve got the pieces, we just have to put them together.”

Leilehua recovered from an 0-3 start with losses to current No. 3 Punahou, No. 1 Kahuku and No. 4 Kapolei to win three of its last four. Following a 19-7 loss to Farrington, the Mules generated momentum with decisive wins over Kailua (37-15) and Castle (41-14) going into a bye last week.

“As the season’s gone on we’ve gotten better and better,” Tokuda said. “You’re able to adjust things teams were able to exploit early and we’re able to recognize it and this is how we’re going to fix it.”

Sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel leads the Mililani offense with 1,060 passing yards and 10 touchdowns against eight interceptions while completing 53 percent of his attempts. Leilehua counters with the “two-headed monster” of Kona Andres and Kaleo Aloha Piceno. Andres has thrown for 1,067 yards and nine scores while Piceno is Leilehua’s leading rusher and has six touchdown passes, two rushing scores and three touchdown receptions.

“That way the offensive linemen and skills don’t have to pick who their stating quarterback is, they both are. They both do different things,” Tokuda said.

The Trojans and Mules will add another chapter to a series that began with a 35-0 Leilehua win in 1975. The Mules won 15 of the first 18 meetings between the schools, but they played just once in a six-year span between 1993 and ’98, a 28-7 Leilehua win in 1996.

The rivalry resumed in 1999 with a 7-7 tie and the schools met at least once annually until 2014. York is 3-2 against Leilehua since taking over the Mililani program in 2010. Tokuda is in his 12th season (not counting a sabbatical in 2011) and is 4-8 against Mililani with eight of those games decided by seven points or less.

Before the latest break in the series, Mililani won the regular-season meeting in 2013 44-14 behind Vavae Malepeai’s 116 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Trojans also won a rematch in the OIA playoffs 21-9 on their way to the league title.

Since 2006, they’ve met in the postseason three times, including Leilehua’s 27-21 win in 2007 in sophomore Andrew Manley‘s varsity  debut to start an improbable run to the state championship.

Although the teams met in preseason scrimmages in the years they did not play in the regular season, there’s nothing quite like game night.

“The schools are only five miles apart and it goes back generations,” York said. “It’s turned into a good friendly rivalry because a lot of the Leilehua grads back in the day live in the Mililani community and their kids go to Mililani. Drama’s always good to throw in there and make it interesting. It’s fun.”

Jerry Campany highlighted some of the series’ memorable meetings prior to the 2013 regular-season game.



  1. Alpha September 29, 2016 1:14 pm

    We’ve seen a lot about our team. We’ve got the pieces, we just have to put them together.”

    Watched their Farrington/Kapolei game on tv, they the got the pieces but in the wrong place. IMO.

  2. James Shigematsu September 29, 2016 7:01 pm

    Eh Alpha. Nobody cares what you think you saw on tv. Stop trying to bash the kids and the team. Easy for you to sit there on your couch and bash other teams that aren’t Kahuku while Kona and the boys play their hearts out and Nolan Tokuda coaches and mentors the kids with the community. Go play with your RR4L buddies.

  3. Alpha September 30, 2016 1:19 am

    Take it easy there @JamesShimmyShimmyCocoPuff you know nothing about me homie. Like I said before, this site allows us to leave our honest opinion and comments. There’s no need to get offended, I post on the regular about every school. So quit with the stereotypes and the assumptions. But we can talk/debate football, tell me where I’m wrong with my comment here and I’ll be happy to break it down for you. And my comment had nothing to do with Leilehua!!!

  4. Mule Nation September 30, 2016 5:13 am

    “Coach” Alpha, we seen enough of your pilau talk and “talking football” like you the second coming of June Jones with your RR4L gang. How about this? If you so smart, go to Nolan Tokuda or Mark Kurisu and go talk to them about all the pieces in the wrong places you see. Maybe they going hire you and you can take them to another state title.

  5. Alpha September 30, 2016 8:33 am

    @mulenation. . . Here’s what I was commenting about “It was a long bus ride back,” York said. “But through the adversity we build and reveal character. We’ve seen a lot about our team. We’ve got the pieces, we just have to put them together.”

    I have no intrest coaching out in Leilehua. Especially when they turned away upcoming freshman just because they played for the Milville Trojans big boy team (taking things personal goes around out there huh) . . But I will be at tonite’s game cheering for those kids because apparently Mililani’s jv is undefeated in the regular season with only a preseason loss to STL. They pitched 3 to 4 shutouts while putting up an avg of 35ppg. . . You can call me Coach all you want though, it’s pretty much my hobby since moving here from Cali. So please, before blowing yalls top and firing shots read and understand the article. . .

    Unbelievable how my comment was aimed towards Mililani yet the Leilehua faithful all up in my grill making assumptions and trynna stereotype while defending Tokuda. But I will say this, Coach Tokuda is the best thing for that community and Football program. Good luck tonight, hope they win because it’ll shake things up going into playoffs. 15yrs coaching between CIF, ILH, OIA so I do see the game different from my couch compared to the avg homer.

  6. Checkyoself September 30, 2016 9:24 am

    The backyard brawl begins……
    The Leilehua mules have always have pride, self respect, and most of all HONOR!!!!
    Both on and off the Mules Battlefield. This is probably one of the reasons why The Mighty Mules have the most televised games from our God sent oC16 sports network.
    Mules vs Trojans 2016 is gonna be the best game we are so fortunate to watch on Oc16 and, if you can find a spot, California ave., Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
    Let’s leave the yellow laundry at home. Both on and off the field. This is gonna be a great game between two great programs.
    Cheer for your favorite team. But there’s nothing wrong with cheering on a great play and or great effort play by the opposing team.
    My challenge for you, no matter whom you cheer for, take a step back. Look around you and the atmosphere is priceless. Watch the game unbiased.
    For the love, for the game of football.
    As for the fans… Humility and respect no matter who wins. ALOHAZ
    IM OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Mule Nation September 30, 2016 2:14 pm

    What a load of shibai. You weren’t no coach, Alpha. Go RR4L and sling mud somewhere else coach hobbyist bear bryant.

  8. 808 RR4L September 30, 2016 2:19 pm




  9. Alpha September 30, 2016 2:33 pm

    Mule Nation September 30, 2016 at 2:14 pm
    What a load of shibai. You weren’t no coach, Alpha. Go RR4L and sling mud somewhere else coach hobbyist bear bryant.

    Then prove it maam/sir. . . Like I said, I’ll be at tonight’s game and you prove to me that I was never a coach and that I am a RR4L… I’ll be sitting on Mililani’s side but I’ll let you know exactly where when I get there. I have nothing to prove to you, but since you commenting like you know me, I want you to prove it.

  10. Alpha September 30, 2016 7:28 pm

    @MuleNation. . . There’s about 6mins left before the Varsity game start. On the 20 closest to the ticket booth. Just walk over and wave. I’m in for of the green umbrella in white

  11. Aunty Sarah September 30, 2016 8:24 pm

    What a irritating person you are, Alpha. I’m sure people have better things to do than meet with random internet strangers who bad mouth high school teams. I have been reading this blog for a while. You may think you are clever imitating that one person, Education First, trying to call people to meet you to compare egos, but you really are not. Please go away, Alpha. Both my Wahiawa community which I and my sons grew up in don’t need “fans” or “coaches” like you, trying to be snarky with people with your millville comment. Mililani doesn’t need people like you either. There are better ways to go about what you’re doing, but I suppose being from the mainland, you don’t understand that.

    I hope you are having fun at the game stroking your ego while watching high school football, but please stroke it somewhere else.

  12. Alpha September 30, 2016 9:16 pm

    Thx @AuntySarah, you put me in my place tonite…BTW, you see Mililani’s change in personal and the score? Kind of validates my comment. . . The 1st one. . .

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