As Bruce Buffer would say, “IIIIIIIIITT’SSSSS TIIIIMMMEEEEE.”
The defending state champion Mililani Trojans and the reigning ILH champion Saint Louis Crusaders will play with the winner facing undefeated Kahuku next Friday night in the D-I title game of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships.
Tons of storylines to watch here. Obviously, the Mililani threesome of McKenzie Milton, Vavae Malepeai and Kalakaua Timoteo will fight to play one more game. Malepeai begins the night 137 yards behind Joe Igber for the state’s all-time rushing record.
Meanwhile, Saint Louis is without LB Jordan Iosefa, who has to sit out two full games according to a rule upheld by both the ILH and the HHSAA.
Kickoff is going to be more like 7:45 p.m. it looks like, probably for TV reasons.
Saint Louis: Jon Manalo, Nate Herbig, Tanielu Evaimalo, Tytus Timoteo
Mililani: McKenzie Milton, Vavae Malepeai, Kyle Chinen, Andru Tovi
Saint Louis wins the toss and will defer. Trojans will get the ball first.
Makana Tauai with a 35-yard return to the 36. Milton’s first pass is knocked down at the line by Evaimalo. Milton’s second pass of the game is intercepted by Ronson Timbreza.
QB Tua Tagovailoa escapes the rush but he can’t get past the next guy. He is called for intentional grounding which is a sack and a loss of 22 yards. Saitaua Lefau gets his first carry and picks up 13 yards. Third-and-19. Pass is complete to Noah Alejado for 8 yards. Crusaders have fourth-and-11 at the Mililani 49 and will go for it. Tagovailoa is sacked by Micah Tuiolemotu. Trojans ball on the Saint Louis 45.
Malepeai’s first carry goes for 8 yards. Milton tries to pull it back and make the quick throw but it’s batted down by LB Isaac Slade-Matautia. Third-and-2 and Malepeai jukes a defender and picks up 10. Hand off to Malepeai who spins past a defender but is held to a yard. Milton keeps and is brought down for a sack by Dylan Toilolo. Third-and-10. Trojans call timeout. Back on the field and Timoteo gets wide open on a simple route. 27-yard TD and Mililani strikes first on Milton-to-Timoteo. 7-0, 9:53, Q1. Career receiving TD No. 38 for Timoteo and career TD pass No. 81 for Milton.
Crusaders start on their 16. Handoff is to Lefau who is dropped by a host of defenders for a 6-yard loss. Tagovailoa finds Ronson Young for 11 yards. Tagovailoa finds Alejado for 15 yards and a first down at the 36. Tagovailoa does a helluva job scrambling out of trouble and he winds up with 10 yards and a first down to the 46. Trojans call a quick timeout. Second timeout called already. Back on the field and the inside screen to Lefau who runs over about three different Trojans and gets down to the 35 for 19 yards. Tagovailoa just shredding the defense now as he finds Jahvin Spear for 11. Tagovailoa takes off but is hit and fumbles. Mililani recovers and returns it to the Trojans 44. Ma’a Tanuvasa credited with fumble recovery.
First play is a Milton pass that is WAY overthrown and picked off by DB Jalen Saole. Big return is wiped out by a penalty but the Crusaders get the ball back on the Mililani 41. Unsportsmanlike penalty on Saint Louis.
Tagovailoa double clutches and waits for Lanakila Wilson to get open, hitting him for 15 yards. Lefau is stopped for a short gain but a Mililani defender comes flying in late and hits him on the ground. Flag flies. Saint Louis is first-and-10 at the 13. Tagovailoa hits WIlson on the slant who catches it, spins past a defender, gets hit, fumbles, but then recovers it back. Second-and-1 at the 5. Lefau down to the 2 for first-and-goal. Saint Louis goes to the I-formation and the handoff is to Lefau for no gain. Handoff again to Lefau who runs into the line but is able to bounce off to his right and jaunt into the end zone for a 2-yard TD run. 7-7, 4:17, Q1.
Tauai has a return called back to the 19 by a hold. Trojans start their drive with a 5-yard Milton pass to Rico Sallas. Malepeai then rumbles for 11 to the 35. Milton keeps it and is hit right as he starts to slide. No penalty — good call — and Milton picks up 11. After a false-start penalty, Milton runs a boot leg and bursts down the sideline. 41-yard pickup. Malepeai runs for 7 yards but is then stopped for a loss of 2. Third-and-5. Milton fakes handoff and keeps behind Malepeai through the hole for 6 yards and it’s first-and-goal. Milton keeps again around the edge and picks up 5 yards to the 1. Mililani holding nothing back with its QB. Second-and-goal at the 1. Mililani stopped before reaching across the goal line. Third-and-1. Malepeai over the top for a 1-yard TD run. Career rushing TD No. 71. Mililani takes 14-7 lead with 41 seconds left in the first quarter.
Crusaders will start on their 24, first-and-15 after a false start. Tagovailoa drops back and throws a perfect bomb into the streaking hands of Drew Kobayashi. It’s a 76-yard TD pass and we’re tied 14-14. 0:23, Q1.
Big hit on the kickoff by Saint Louis’ coverage teams and Mililani will start from its 16. Malepeai with a run of about 22 yards but it looks like it’s coming back. Illegal formation. Screen to Malepeai looks like it’s going to go for big yards but Toilolo sniffs it out. End of a wild quarter.
Milton 3-7, 35 yds, TD, 2 INT
Malepeai 10-46, TD
Tagovailoa 8-8, 164 yards, 1 TD.
Mililani with second-and-12 at its 14. Malepeai goes for 9 yards to the 23. Third down and he is stuffed. Trojans are going to go for it fourth-and-3 at the 23 and Saint Louis quickly calls timeout. Mililani now sending its punt team on the field. Short punt gives Crusaders excellent field position at the Mililani 45.
Lefau with the carry for 3 yards. Tagovailoa drops back and then takes off immediately up the middle and he picks up 19 to the 23. Lefau strung out to the left but he does a great job to put on the breaks and fight forward to turn a loss into a gain of 1. Tagovailoa fires one up the seam to Spear and he’s in for a 22-yard TD. 21-14, 9:29, Q2.
Braeden Meyer gets Tauai down on the kick return or else it might have gone for a big one. Malepeai with a 1-yard run and then a pass for 7 yards sets up third-and-2. Milton with the keeper and he wins the race to the sideline for 3 yards and is blasted late out of bounds. That will be 15 on Saint Louis to move the ball past midfield. Easy call. Milton tries to go deep but it’s off and Timbreza comes down with his second INT. Third by Milton. Saint Louis ball.
Tagovailoa throws it to an open Alejado for 57 yards. Tagovailoa is now 10-for-10 for 243 yards. Timeout Trojans. Tagovailoa 5-yard TD run. 28-14, 7:49, Q2.
Milton completely misses Sallas on an easy throw outside. They’ve probably hit that 100 straight times. Milton has an open lane to his left and runs for 11 yards and a first down. Malepeai picks up 7 as a flag thrown is picked up. Milton keeps and LB Anson Levi blows it up for a loss of 5 yards. Big third down and Milton is under pressure but he scrambles away and uses his speed to get 12 and a first down. Blitz off the end and Jayce Smalley sacks Milton for a huge loss of 13 yards. Milton with a nice deep ball and an ever better catch by Bryson Ventura, who holds on for 40 yards. Mililani needed that. Saint Louis LB Noa Purcell with a great pass breakup to force third-and-10. Pass over the middle is just lat eenough and Saole dives to break it up. Fourth-and-10 and of course Mililani will go at the Saint Louis 30. Milton goes deep to Timoteo who hangs on at the 1 as he gets absolutely blasted at the 1. DB Isaiah Tufaga laid out Timoteo and Milton was sandwiched behind the line of scrimmage as he threw the ball and he’s down. Wow. Three fouls on the play. A hold on Mililani, a roughing the passer and a blindside hit is called. DB Isaiah Tufaga is out of the game. However the play doesn’t count so it’s still fourth-and-10. Timeout to figure this one out. Milton is headed to the locker room as freshman Cy Kuboyama-Hayashi has to come in. He throws one up for Timoteo but it’s incomplete and Saint Louis takes over.
Tagovailoa with his first incomplete pass as he has to throw it away near the sideline. The next play is an inside screen to Lefau who has tons of room up the middle. He gets 58 yards to the 12 before he’s tackled by Kobayashi, who was trying to block but is then thrown into Lefau. Kobayashi looks like he hurt his shoulder on the play. After a false start, Tagovailoa with an option forward pitch to Lefau for a 17-yard TD that goes as a pass. Tagovailoa 12-for-13 for 318 yards and 4 TDs (1 rush). Crusaders lead 35-14, 3:53, Q2.
Trojans start at the 35. Trojans go wildcat without Milton with Malepeai in the backfield and he picks up 24 yards to the 41. Malepeai for 3 to the 38. Third-and-5 at the 36 and there’s a fumble on the handoff. Purcell recovers for Saint Louis.
Crusaders start on their 37 with 2:53 left. Tagovailoa goes deep to Wilson but it’s incomplete. Just his second missed throw so far. Wilson grabs one for 16 yards. Kobayashi drops one. Spear with an 8-yard reception to make it third-and-2. Tagovailoa has a rusher coming from behind and steps up and steps out of a sack and he’s off and good night. My goodness. He’s gone. 39-yard TD run is the official mark (thought it was 41). Either way, it’s 42-14 with 1:42 left in the first half.
Another Mililani turnover as Sallas catches the ball and runs for yards. Slade-Matautia with the forced fumble and Hunter Hoohuli with the recovery.
Tagovailoa drops an absolute dime on the sideline for 35 yards to Spear to the 6. Jimmy Gonsalves 6-yard TD run. 49-14, 0:49, Q2.
Malepeai gets a couple of big runs but the Crusaders intercept the final pass of the first half and take a 49-14 lead into the break.
Tagovailoa 15-18, 376 yards, 3 TD; 7 carries, 58 yards, TD.
Saitaua Lefau 3 rec, 94 yards, TD
Kobayashi 76-yard TD rec
Milton 5-14, 82 yards, TD, 3 INT
Malepeai 20-131, TD.
Chevan Cordeiro in at QB to start the second half for the Crusaders. Cordeiro scrambles for a big gain. We’ve seen him run before. Running clock reminder. Inside screen to Lefau and Tanuvasa makes the tackle to force the punt.
Trojans start on their 7 after the punt. Malepeai runs for 15 yards on the first play and breaks Joe Igber’s mark to become Hawaii’s new all-time leading rusher. Malepeai runs for 15 yards on the next play but is hit near the Saint Louis sideline and is favoring his shoulder.
Trojans fumble and Isaac Slade-Matautia returns it 64 yards for a touchdown. 56-14, 5:34, Q3.
Malepeai back in the game and rips off a 34-yard run but Mililani turns it over on downs.
Jahred Silofau in for Saint Louis at RB and he rips off a 41-yard run. Silofau runs again to the 1 as the third quarter ends.
Malepeai up to 209 rushing yards.
Saint Louis is stopped on a run up the middle and then the next play is an option pitch backward that is fumbled and Mililani recovers.
Cy Kuboyama-Hayashi just throws one up and the defender falls, allowing Timoteo to snag it and run 66 yards for a TD. Two-point conversion is good so running clock is over. 56-22, 9:29, Q4.
Timoteo with 6 catches for 118 yards and 2 TDs.
Maika Bonner now in at QB for Saint Louis. Silofau rushes for no gain and the Bonner runs off the right side for three. Third-and-7. Crusaders letting clock run but will punt with 6:30 remaining.
Mililani runs into the punter for a flag but fumbles it anyway and Saint Louis recovers on the Mililani 9. Turnover No. 8 I believe. Toilolo forced the fumble I think. Chance Beyer on the recovery.
Trojans hold Saint Louis to 2 yards on three carries. Fourth-and-goal from the 7. Bonner keeps and gets nothing and Mililani gets the ball back with 3:55 to go.
Malepeai breaks a 34-yard run and he’s over 250 for the game. State-tournament record is 274 (Hawaii Prep’s Michael Kopra). Kuboyama-Hayashi to Timoteo for a 40-yard TD. Two-point conversion is good. 56-30, 1:23, Q4.
At Aloha Stadium
Mililani (10-3) 14 0 0 16 — 30
Saint Louis (9-1) 14 35 7 0 — 56
Mil—Kalakaua Timoteo 27 pass from McKenzie Milton (Isaiah Kuloloia kick)
StL—Saitaua Lefau 2 run (Jacob Tobias kick)
Mil—Vavae Malepeai 1 run (Kuloloia kick)
StL—Drew Kobayashi 76 pass from Tua Tagovailoa (Tobias kick)
StL—Jahvin Spear 22 pass from Tagovailoa (Tobias kick)
StL—Tagovailoa 5 run (Tobias kick)
StL—Lefau 17 pass from Tagovailoa (Tobias kick)
StL—Tagovailoa 39 run (Tobias kick)
StL—Jimmy Gonsalves 6 run (Tobias kick)
StL—Isaac Slade-Matautia 64 fumble return (Tobias kick)
Mil—Timoteo 66 pass from Cy Kuboyama-Hayashi (Chad Senas pass from Kuboyama-Hayashi)
Mil—Timoteo 40 pass from Kuboyama-Hayashi (Kuboyama-Hayashi run)
RUSHING—Mil: Malepeai 32-258, Milton 10-70, Makana Tauai 1-(-15), Kuboyama-Hayashi 1-(-5). Saint Louis: Tagovailoa 7-58, Jahred Silofau 3-51, Dylan-James Silva 5-16, Chevan Cordeiro 2-15, Lefau 11-16, Gonsalves 5-6, Maika Bonner 2-3, Team 1(-1).
PASSING—Mililani: Milton 5-14-3-82, Kuboyama-Hayashi 10-15-1-165. Saint Louis: Tagovailoa 15-18-0-376, Cordeiro 1-1-0-8.
RECEIVING—Mililani: Timoteo 7-158, Rico Sallas 3-17, Bryson Ventura 1-40, Tauai 2-14, Jarod Alama 1-15, Malepeai 1-3. Saint Louis: Lefau 4-102, Lanakila Wilson 4-74, Noah Alejado 3-80, Spear 3-41, Kobayashi 1-76, Ronson Young 1-11.