Central Oahu was rocking Thursday night as Mililani visited Leilehua and put a 48-21 hurt on the Mules in a preseason football scrimmage at a packed Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
The contest between arch rivals was run like a real game with real referees, and a scoreboard clock, and Mililani’s Kainoa Wilson showed how much of a real deal he is by scoring four touchdowns, including two through the air from McKenzie Milton.
“It’s a scrimmage, that’s all it is,” said coach Rod York, who led the Trojans to an OIA championship and a runner-up finish in the Division I state tournament last year. “It wouldn’t have mattered if the score was 14-50 or 50-14. We played it to get better, to get the work in and we got good work in.”
York scoffed when asked if he thought his passing game was in midseason form.
But the numbers are nothing to scoff about. Milton, a junior, was 17-for-20 for 330 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Defensively, the Trojans were sharp, outmuscling the Leilehua line with five sacks among seven times they put two Mules quarterbacks down behind the line of scrimmage. Defensive lineman Rex Manu led the way with one and a half sacks. He also tackled Mules starting QB Kalanimoku Pauole for a loss on a running play.
“We need to fix our O-line,” Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said. “That’s what happens when you’ve got juniors who haven’t played football before on the varsity playing under the lights for the first time. For them, it’s like … wow … to see the strength and the speed and the relentlessness of that defense.
“If this had been another opponent, it would have been a different story,” Tokuda added, emphatically. “There’s a reason why Mililani is regarded as one of the top teams in the state.”
The Mules, however, did have their bright moments on offense, but had no answer for the Trojans’ offense.
“We showed flashes of brilliance,” Tokuda said. “We finished good with our passing game, but we’ve got to work on playing smarter. We’re not as deep as we’ve been in past years and we’ve got people playing multiple positions.
“It was our third day in pads and to be at this pace already is just what we wanted.”
Leilehua held an early 7-6 lead before Wilson scored on runs of 2 and 49 yards for a 20-7 bulge for Mililani early in the second quarter.
Wilson added TD receptions of 72 and 52 yards later in the second quarter for a 41-14 lead at the break.
The first and second stanzas were 10 minutes each instead of the regulation 12. The third and fourth quarters were seven minutes each with a running clock.
For Trojans wide receiver Kalakaua Timoteo, it was a good feeling to finally get on the field.
“Coach has been in our ear all year about how we never finished in the state championship game (a loss to Punahou),” said Timoteo, who caught two passes for 90 yards against Leilehua. “This shows that all the hard work is finally paying off, and it’s an especially good feeling when you look at the scoreboard.”
Wilson finished with 70 rushing yards on four carries and caught four passes for 131 yards.
The Mules scored on two big plays — Randy Neverson’s 80-yard kickoff return in the first quarter and Ikaika Piceno’s 65-yard up-the-middle jaunt before haltime.
Tyreek Keough scored Leilehua’s other TD with a 5-yard reception from Pauole late in the game.
The Mules open the regular season next Friday at home against defending state champion Punahou.
Pauole and backup quarterback Kaleo Piceno combined to complete 14 of 18 passes for Leilehua.
For York and the Trojans, the march to get back to the state title game starts at home next Saturday against Saint Louis, which has the coach from its dynasty days, Cal Lee, back as the head man.
“We got our twos (second string) in and we even got to work some of our threes in,” York said. “We’re still trying to find guys for the right positions and we definitely want to find out who our true leaders are. Tonight, we got to see some places where we need to get better. We’re not satisfied.”
Highly acclaimed running back Vavae Malepeai did not play for Mililani. He said he has been sick of late.
In the all-time series (if it’s decided that this scrimmage counts), Leilehua leads 21-16.
At Hugh Yoshida Stadium
Mililani 13 28 7 0 — 48
Leilehua 7 7 0 7 — 21
MIL—McKenzie Milton 44 run (kick failed)
LEI—Randy Neverson 80 kickoff return (Mackenzie Crowley kick)
MIL—Kainoa Wilson 2 run (Marc Matas kick)
MIL—Wilson 49 run (Matas kick)
MIL—Wilson 72 pass from Milton (Matas kick)
LEI—Ikaika Piceno 65 run (Crowley kick)
MIL—Roman Tovi 32 pass from Milton (Matas kick)
MIL—Wilson 52 pass from Milton (Matas kick)
MIL—Makana Tauai 18 pass from Milton (Matas kick)
LEI—Tyreek Keough 5 pass from Kalanimoku Pauole (Crowley kick)
RUSHING—Mililani: Wilson 4-70, Milton 4-54, Cheyne Constantino 7-22, Stanton Lee 1-4, Joshua Butac 1-(minus-2). Leilehua: I. Piceno 7-71, Kaleo Piceno 5-18, Neverson 1-9, Mark Ferido 1-0, Damien George 1-(minus-2), Anthony Ugalino 1-(minus-9), Pauole 7-(minus-40).
PASSING—Mililani: Milton 17-20-0—330. Leilehua: Pauole 10-13-0—76, K. Piceno 4-5-0—41.
RECEIVING—Mililani: Wilson 4-131, Isaiah Manding 3-36, Kalakaua Timoteo 2-90, Roman Tovi 2-34, Makana Tauai 2-28, Stanton Lee 1-5, Mana Lai 1-3, Chad Senas 1-3, Butac 1-0. Leilehua: Neverson 2-31, Tresame Chong 2-14, Keough 2-7, I. Piceno 2-3, Ryan Fuller 1-18, Ferido 1-15, Our Savior Smith 1-9, Jensen Cassium 1-8, Toma Savea 1-6, Lauriano Lucas 1-6.