One resonating mantra from Mililani football coach Rod York is, “To be the best, you have to play the best.”
Well, York is not resting on the Trojans’ drive to the Division I state championship a year ago. It was a historic moment for the school.
No, York is still trying to improve the program by scheduling some of the top teams around. Mililani scrimmages OIA rival Leilehua — much like the Trojans did last season — at home at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Mules are No. 9 in the Star-Advertiser’s preseason Top 10.
You got a follow-up to that, Rod? You bet. The Kahuku Red Raiders, under new coach Vavae Tata, visit Mililani’s John Kauinana Stadium on Friday night for a 7 p.m. scrimmage. The Red Raiders made it to the state semifinals a year ago.
On Saturday, things don’t let up. Kamehameha, under former Dallas Cowboys tight end Doug Cosbie, take on the Trojans in the latter’s third scrimmage in three days.
It doesn’t stop there. On Saturday, Aug. 8, the first weekend of real nonleague games for most teams, Mililani scrimmages Saint Louis, which lost by a touchdown in the ILH playoffs to Punahou a year ago and is considered to be a real threat by many in the media to take that championship away from the Buffanblu this season.
The regular season gets under way for two straight weekends when the Trojans hit the road to play McKinley on Aug. 15 and come back home to face Campbell, the OIA fourth-place finisher last season, on Aug. 22. Then comes another OIA playoff team from a year ago, Kapolei, at home on Aug. 29.
And if you’re out for some more fun, Mr. York, and you bet he is, Mililani takes a flight to Nevada to challenge one of the top teams in that state, Liberty, on Sept. 4.
“It will be an honor for us to play Liberty,” York said. “They are a good team. They (haven’t been) state champs because the No. 1 team in the nation, Bishop Gorman, is in their league. They pretty much only lose to Bishop Gorman … in the state semifinals or the final.”