Mililani holds off Kahuku in Tata’s first test

Kahuku's Hirkley Latu pressured Mililani quarterback McKenzie Milton in Friday night's scrimmage at John Kauinana Stadium. Mililani won 44-30.
Kahuku’s Hirkley Latu pressured Mililani quarterback McKenzie Milton in Friday night’s scrimmage at John Kauinana Stadium. Mililani won 44-30. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Two words: McKenzie Milton.

If you don’t know by now, he makes the Mililani offense go, and he’s been doing it for two-plus years. Milton and the Trojans defeated Kahuku 44-30 on Friday night in a scrimmage at Mililani’s John Kauinana Stadium.

At times, Kahuku pressured Milton, but the senior quarterback still found holes to pass and run through in leading the way.

It was a statement game of sorts for the Trojans, the defending state champions who stopped the Red Raiders in the OIA title game, 20-7, a year ago. Head coach Rod York‘s Trojans, who also beat Leilehua in a Thursday scrimmage, knew the importance of a good showing this early in the season against one of the squad’s main competitors.

“I’m proud of my guys,” York said after the teams shook hands. “Kahuku brought its ‘A’ game and we brought our A-plus game. Overall, it was good, but we have a lot of corrections to make. We had three touchdowns scored against our twos (second-string defense). We were in scrimmage mode and they were in scrimmage mode. We’re going to get better and they’re going to get better.”

Kahuku, under new coach Vavae Tata, was primed to come in and show it deserves to be considered a contender for the throne. The Red Raiders were outplayed, but there were plenty of positives.

Mililani's Tyrell Niuatoa sacked Kahuku quarterback Jordan Mariteragi during the second quarter. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser
Mililani’s Tyrell Niuatoa sacked Kahuku quarterback Jordan Mariteragi during the second quarter. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser

“It was a great litmus test,” Tata said. “And we have a long way to go. We’ll be ready for Campbell next week. We’ll be looking at the tape and making fixes first thing in the morning.”

Tata believes the Red Raiders need improvement with tackling on defense and blocking on offense, but he was highly impressed with the running game.

Harmon Brown scored twice on long runs and added two 2-point conversions for Kahuku, and teammate Sefa Ameperosa picked up huge chunks of yardage. Ted Kenese added two late rushing touchdowns, and Aaron Tapusoa notched a 2-point conversion for the Red Raiders.

Bryson Ventura caught two touchdown passes from Milton for Mililani and Kalakaua Timoteo had one TD reception. Milton sped away from tacklers on many pass plays to make completions, and he also sprinted to the end zone for long scores twice.

Kilifi Malepeai, a freshman, also got into the scoring act for the Trojans with a short TD run, while Isaiah Kuloloia kicked a field goal.

Malepeai’s older brother Vavae Malepeai, a two-time Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State choice and an Oregon commit, did not play due to turf toe. The senior is due back next week. Jalen Olomua, a transfer from Kahuku, started and turned in a strong effort at running back for Mililani. The two Malepeai boys are nephews of Kahuku coach Tata.

Trojans defensive end Kaimana Padello and defensive back Tielu Mamea also did not play due to injuries.

Kahuku veteran running back and quarterback Kesi Ah-Hoy sat out with a groin strain.

Red Raiders quarterback Jordan Mariteragi, a transfer from Kamehameha, looked sharp, playing most of the scrimmage.

Maka Chun, Mililani’s backup quarterback, played in several series near the end of the scrimmage.

Among the other noteworthy plays were two sacks by the Trojans’ Tyrell Niuatoa, and interceptions by Mililani’s Dustin Gapusan and Ramsey Tacadena and Kahuku’s Stokes Nihipali-Botelho.

Mililani of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Blue and Kahuku of the OIA Red won’t play each other again this season unless they meet in the league playoffs or the state tournament.

Mililani hosts Kamehameha on Saturday night at 7 p.m. for its third scrimmage in three days. The Trojans will also scrimmage Saint Louis at home on Aug. 8.

Kahuku returns home to take on Campbell next Friday in Tata’s first regular-season nonleague game.


  1. Mahatma Gandhi August 1, 2015 1:26 am

    The Mililani QB is exceptional, one of the finest QB’s I have ever seen play in the islands. Not only is he as good of a runner as Marcus Mariota, he is also a pinpoint passer. I had never seen him play before the state championship game when he was a sophomore. I was skeptical about him just because he was a sophomore and had a girls name, but he played an outstanding game. He must have been sensitive to people saying he had a girls name, because he now goes by “McKenzie” instead of “Mackenzie”. He is way too good for UH. This guy is USC caliber. I know Pac-12 schools can’t take chances on QB’s under 6′ tall. But Russell Wilson is 5′-11″. How tall was Doug Flutie?

  2. Blake Rose August 1, 2015 7:56 am

    #KZ Football
    You have a girls name Mahatma

  3. uso August 1, 2015 8:31 am

    The score was 36-16. I believe in the second quarter.. The rest of the points were because kahuku scored like 2 or 3 touchdowns on mililanis secondarys late in the 4th quarter.

  4. zero August 1, 2015 9:01 am

    mahatma, mackenzie/mckenzie is not exclusively a girl’s name, and none of that should matter anyway. he’s a great high school quarterback but not a USC caliber quarterback. he’s not mariota fast and mobile and he doesn’t have exceptional division I arm strength. he’s not ranked in any of the recruiting publications and isn’t being chased currently by any big name schools. could he be a good college quarterback at a smaller school or develop into a serviceable starter? possibly. but is he a big time player right out of high school? no.

    let’s be real here.

  5. Mama T August 1, 2015 9:29 am

    McKenzie has always been spelled McKenzie.
    After his namesake Dr William McKenzie.
    Who delivered all four of our sons at Wahiawa Hospital.
    KZ is his nick name and he has no self esteem issues in regards to his name.
    His name has great meaning…His gifted middle name means….
    Conqueror or Victor.. He has achieved both and held true to his great name.
    McKenzie William Kana’i Milton is his full legal name.
    Thank you for the kind and encouraging comments.

  6. mctruck August 1, 2015 12:09 pm

    Can’t wait to see KZ play for the Warriors.

  7. 88 August 1, 2015 4:18 pm

    C’mon Uso really, Kahuku scored on Mililani second string. The game was a scrimmage both teams were playing everyone after the first couple of series…, give it a rest bro

  8. Go-Puns!! August 1, 2015 8:00 pm

    Uso. What you should have said it that Kahuku’s reserves scored 2TDs on Mililani’s reserves. It shows that Kahuku has more depth. After Milton left the game, they really didn’t do much. Same with the game against Leilehua. He made some miraculous scoring plays. Like 88 said, this was a scrimmage. Lol. Milton is the best player in the state and perfect in the Mililani system. If the Trojans repeat, it will be because of him. I fully expect a rematch in the OIA finals. Best of luck to both Trojans and Red Raiders.

  9. Blake Rose August 1, 2015 8:14 pm

    For Zero……
    The Oregon Ducks want Mckenzie!
    He is the best quarterback to ever come out of Hawaii,
    and yes I have heard of Marcus Mariota…

  10. Matt Milton August 1, 2015 9:06 pm


  11. Matt Milton August 1, 2015 9:10 pm

    Let’s be real here…

  12. hahashanda August 3, 2015 3:12 pm

    WoW Matt Milton… Please don’t compare the Mililani QB to Mariota. Mckenzie is a very good HS QB. Even doing better in HS then what Mariota did at St. Louis during time there. But don’t forget this is HS. Not College or Pro’s. The likely-hood that he could be as good as Mariota is far fetched, let alone thinking he could be better. Mckenzie may be the next Colt Brennan. Nice gunslinger that can pick apart defenses well.

  13. FB fan August 3, 2015 4:39 pm

    Hope malepeai’s foot not serious. That transfer rb from kahuku was getting looks on bothe sides of the ball, hope he pans out.

  14. KahukuHomeGrown August 3, 2015 5:40 pm

    @FB fan. I think his name is Jalen Olomua and he was a beast on Kahuku’s JV last season. Best of luck to him as a Trojan.

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