Mililani coach Rod York will return for Kahuku game

Mililani football coach Rod York will be back on the Trojans sideline for Friday's game against Kahuku. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

Mililani football coach Rod York, who missed last Friday’s 30-26 comeback road victory over Campbell, said Tuesday that he will be back on Mililani’s bench for Friday’s home game against No. 4 Kahuku.

York was not on the sidelines for the game against the Sabers because of personal reasons and assistant Ma’a Tanuvasa took over as acting head coach.

Tanuvasa told Star-Advertiser reporter Jason Kaneshiro after the game, “I just showed up today for the JV game and I guess it was personal reasons. I got the text and it said ‘Hey, you’re the head coach.’ ”

York watched the TV replay of the game.

“They rallied together and I’m proud of them,” York said by phone Tuesday. “But we can’t pat our backs. We’ve got Kahuku coming up and that’s going to be a tough one. Campbell is a great team and we’ve got to make some corrections.”

Asked what he liked about his third-ranked Trojans on TV, York said, “We dominated the trenches.”

And what didn’t he like?

“(Sabers wide receiver) Titus Mokiao-Atimalala got loose on us (for 179 yards and two touchdowns),” he said. “He ran past us. His speed is deceptive because our guys are fast. He extended plays. He got 3 to 4 yards on our corners. I texted his dad that I think Titus is the best receiver in the state. He’s aggressive and has USC speed. He runs a 4.4 or lower in the 40 and he has game speed. We knew his capabilities going in and double-teamed him and he still he got his yards and touchdowns. Titus and his brother (Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala) are legit.”

Mililani defensive coordinator Vince Nihipali, who missed the Campbell game because of a business trip, won’t be back until after the Kahuku game, according to York.

Through his first nine seasons at Mililani, York has compiled an 86-24 record (.782 winning percentage) and has won four OIA championships and Division I state titles in 2014 and ’16.

After losing its first 10 games against Kahuku, Mililani is 4-2 against the Red Raiders over the last six, including a win in the OIA Open Division title game last year.

York is 4-3 during his tenure against Big Red.