The Mililani Trojans shook off a subpar, scoreless first quarter and went on a 35-point spree before halftime to finish their OIA Open regular season undefeated in Friday night’s 49-7 victory over Kapolei on the Hurricanes’ home field.
Mililani (7-2, 5-0) will be sitting pretty with a bye for the next two weeks before they play a league semifinal game on the weekend of Oct. 26-27.
For Kapolei, it’s desperation time. The Hurricanes (3-5 overall) are sitting at 1-2 in the league, very close to Waianae and Farrington (both 1-3) at the bottom of the pile.
Next Saturday, Kapolei’s fate will likely be decided in its second-to-last OIA Open regular-season contest — at home against Campbell. The Hurricanes then finish the regular season on Oct. 19 at Kahuku.
“It’s pretty much down to this,” Hurricanes coach Darren Hernandez said. “I know Campbell is a very good team. We beat Waianae, Farrington beat us, and Waianae beat Farrington. It’s very big right now.”
Just ahead of the Hurricanes in the standings are Kahuku and Campbell, both of whom are 1-1 in the league and still have work to do to clinch one of four playoff spots. The Red Raiders and Sabers play Saturday night for sole possession of second place.
Here is a look at the remaining opponents of the five teams still trying to join Mililani in the OIA Open playoffs:
>> Kahuku 1-1: At Campbell on Saturday; at Farrington on Oct. 12; at home against Kapolei on Oct. 19.
>> Campbell 1-1: At home against Kahuku on Saturday; at Kapolei on Oct. 13; at Waianae on Oct. 19.
>> Kapolei 1-2: At home against Campbell on Oct. 13; at Kahuku on Oct. 19.
>> Farrington 1-3 At home against Kahuku on Oct. 12.
>> Waianae 1-3: At home against Campbell on Oct. 19.
Hernandez made sure to tell his boys after their homecoming loss how important next week’s game is. And he wants them to play looser.
“When we play tight like in the second quarter, we don’t play well,” he said. “There’s no doubt we fell apart in the second quarter. That was the whole game right there.”
After a slow start, Mililani’s Dillon Gabriel finished 21-for-36 for 249 yards and three touchdowns. He did not play in the second half.
All three of his TD passes went to junior Maka Hill, who had a breakout game.
“Our start wasn’t as fast as we thought it was going to be,” Hill said. “There were slip-ups and miscommunication, but on the sideline, the coach (Rod York) always rallies us and we take to heart what he’s saying. Dillon’s reads were there and he was hitting them. I wish we could have shared the ball a little more.”
Hill was being unselfish by saying that. He was wishing his teammates also could have been a part of the receiving end of touchdown passes from Gabriel.
In the second half, Dylan Cozloff caught a TD pass from backup QB RJ Javar.
And even though only two Mililani players had TD receptions on the night, 11 different players made catches.
In yards from scrimmage, Mililani passed for 299 and rushed for 67 for a total of 366. Kapolei passed for 104 and rushed for 34 for a total of 138.
The Trojans also won the turnover battle 2-0, with fumble recoveries by Mykah Tuiolemotu and Seth Ebesugawa.