Mililani will receive. Conditions are breezy and overcast, no rain. Yet.
Milton injured on the first series while completing a deep pass. He leaves the game two plays later after a time out. Trojans unable to score after throwing a pick on fourth down in the red zone. Now Milton and WR Kalakaua Timoteo are out.
Kailua drives past midfield but fumbles the ball away. MIL then goes four and out, incompletion by Higa on fourth down. He went to Bronson Ventura on consecutive plays without a completion. Kailua bringing heat and covering well.
The wind blowing from one end zone (south) to the other is the strongest I’ve seen all year. Killing all punts and kicks.
Higa had the wind at his back but couldn’t connect. Then again, it’s his first early-game action and he was thrown out there without warming up, really. His passes weren’t way off, so it’s correctible. But now MIL is going against the wind.
KAIL moving the ball between the 20s, but self-destructing with delay calls. Second and 19, Noah Auld slithers out of the grasp of a would-be-sacker and launches a 33-yard TD pass to Noah Ah Yat on a post route. For the tall Auld (6-foot-3), that was Mariota-esque. KAIL 7, MIL 0, 9:42.
MIL marching downfield with heavy doses of Vavae Malepeai on the ground. Time out by KAIL with 8:18 left in the half. Ball at the KAIL 26. Malepeai running with a furious anger.
Decisive march by the Trojans. Malepeai scores on a 2-yard run, great surge by the O-line. Higa had a big 29-yard pass to Ventura to the 1-yard line. Seems both QBs are more comfortable throwing into the wind. MIL 7, KAIL 7, 6:27.
Surfriders now grinding away, marching on the ground. Auld is changing up his count or cadence because MIL has jumped offside twice. Dalton Kalama has been pumping those legs and churning out yardage. Fresh legs. He’s in for Gabe LeLesch, who fumbled three times and lost two.
They drive to the MIL 16, but an offensive pass interference call against Martin Tigilau derails it. Auld tried to go deep to him on second and 1, and I’m pretty sure the staff isn’t happy about this blown opportunity. A bad snap on third and 16 kills the drive for good. We go into the half tied at 7.
Notes: Two times, Mililani had punts bouncing downfield that bounced off Trojans and killed the ball there. That’s just poor communication. The Trojans look just a little bit flat and flat-footed, but this is the first time in ages they’ve gone this long without Milton at QB and Timoteo at WR. The good news for MIL is that Higa is settling in and Malepeai, well, he runs like a beast at all times.
KAIL is blowing opportunities. Two fumbles lost. The last, wasted drive of the first half. They could’ve had two or three, maybe four TDs on the board, but even with the wind at their back, nothing on the board in the second quarter.
Malepeai with 60 rushing yards on 12 carries. They haven’t completed a pass to him yet, though there was an overthrown screen pass.
Both teams still struggling offensively. A hold pins KAIL on its first series of the second half. Then MIL commits two penalties, faces a first and 33 from its 15, and Higa hits Makana Tauai on a slant for an 85-yard TD. WOW. MIL 14, KAIL 7, 8:28.
That just about sucked the life out of this big Kailua home crowd.
Surfriders run, run, incomplete pass and its fourth and 11. Punt snap is a bit high and Auld can’t control it. Ball bounces in the back of the end zone and it looks like Auld bats the ball out for a safety. Fans getting restless, but this is the conservative play calling that got them to this point in OIA Blue play. They usually execute on third down, like it’s a staple. MIL 16, KAIL 7, 6:47.
MIL playing with fire now. Malepeai rips off a 19-yard gain to start the drive. Three plays later, despite a holding call on MIL, Higa with a 27-yard laser to Ventura, who makes a spectacular leaping catch. Malepeai then goes beastly on the left side and gallops past the left pylon for a 14-yard TD. The champions are in the house. MIL 23, KAIL 7, 4:49.
Another three and out for Kailua going against the wind, another TD for Mililani. Despite a sack, they score in four plays. Malepeai rumbles through the secondary for 19 yards before Higa throws a quick pass to Ventura, who races 31 yards down the right sideline for another TD. MIL 30, KAIL 7, 2:47.
That’s 23 unanswered points by the visitors in the third quarter.
Kailua is in the mist of a long drive, aided by Mililani penalties for face mask, personal foul and now conduct. MIL called a time out during the drive to no avail. KAIL ball at the MIL 8.
Auld hits Koolau Gaspar on an out route for an 8-yard TD pass. MIL 30, KAIL 14, 11:54.
MIL offense in full tilt mode now. Their speed option to the left is killing Kailua. Malepeai just picked up 20 and 36 yard on back-to-back pitches. MIL ball at the KAIL 10.
Rico Sallas is wide, wide open on an 8-yard TD pass from Higa, who looks pretty good now for a guy who missed his first 10 pass attempts. He looks like a fantasy football machine now. KAIL is offside on the PAT, York sends the offense back in and Malepeai runs in for 2. MIL 38, KAIL 14, 9:43.
KAIL drives and scores on a 2-yard run by Kalama, who has run the ball well — very well, actually, for a catcher on the baseball team. Not sure why KAIL kicked for the PAT. If they’d gone for 2 and made it, they’d be within 16. Oh well. MIL 38, KAIL 21, 7:32.
Kailua four and out, no completions as MIL’s pass rush continues to be effective. KAIL just not real comfortable throwing the ball on first or second down. I’ll go back on my play-by-play notes later on that. But it’s there for them. I saw them throw pretty well in another game on first down.
MIL just running out the final 4 minutes.
Third and 10, another KAIL time out. MIL puts Malepeai back in the game. Uh oh, something’s up. Yup. Screen pass, 31-yard TD for Malepeai. Always had great hands. MIL 45, KAIL 21, 1:34.
Bleachers are nearly filled here at Alex Kane Stadium. Lot of that is because the visitor-side bleachers have been under construction for awhile.
Conditions here are dry, but gusty and overcast. While town was drenched, it seems the rain isn’t hitting Kailua hard. Clouds carrying moisture until they hit the Koolaus, it seems.
Nick Abramo reported on Prep World yesterday that Mililani wide receiver Kalakaua Timoteo is out with an ankle injury. This is Mililani’s first game of the season on natural turf (grass), and though I was expecting a mud bog here, the field is actually in reasonable shape. That could change if there’s a downpour, but for now, Mililani’s all-white uniforms are in mint condition. Keep the OxyClean ready just in case.
JV game just completed. Kailua rallied for a 17-14 win over Mililani. Pick-six with about 2 minutes left decided it.
Update, 6:39 p.m.
Not too bad time-wise. National anthem and Hawai‘i Pono‘i done beautifully by the Kailua High School band. Alma maters are pau. Kickoff in about 5 minutes.