After playing two games in five days, Mililani will have close to two weeks to recharge for its next appearance.
Last week’s approach of Hurricane Lester pushed the Trojans’ game against Kapolei to Monday. Following the 40-12 defeat to the visiting Hurricanes, Mililani had just three days to regroup before taking the field Friday at Nanakuli.
While the Mililani offense struggled to find its groove early, the defense thrived and the Trojans eventually pulled away to a 42-0 bounce-back win heading into their bye week.
Mililani coach Rod York said the week off comes at “a great time.”
“Most definitely correct what we’re doing wrong and we’ll come back strong,” York said.
The bye will give the Trojans a chance to allow injuries to heal before returning to action on Sept. 23 at Kailua. Running back Kailiohu Kila, Mililani’s leading rusher entering the week with 354 yards and five touchdowns, left the game in the second quarter and did not return due to what York said was a sprained ankle.
Kila was replaced by sophomore Kilifi Malepeai, younger brother of All-State back Vavae Malepeai. Wearing No. 19 —as his brother did during his record-setting career with the Trojans — Malepeai ran for 21 yards on four carries and finished off Mililani’s second scoring drive of the game with a 5-yard touchdown run, his first of the season.
York said Malepeai has battled injuries this season and was nicked up a bit again on Friday. Kaine Park finished the night in the backfield and capped the scoring with a 29-yard run for his first touchdown.
Tasi Malepeai, a cousin of the running back brothers, helped set the tone early with tackles for losses on Nanakuli’s first two plays from scrimmage and finished with four stops behind the line of scrimmage. Mykah Tuiolemotu added two sacks among his three tackles for loss and Mililani held Nanakuli to 39 yards in total offense.
Quarterback Dillon Gabriel completed 19 of 43 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns, two going to Ryan Chang, who finished with a team-high 85 yards.
Gabriel’s completion percentage was hampered by a spate of dropped passes in the first half. The Trojans’ receivers appeared to refocus at halftime and latched on to Gabriel’s first five throws of the third quarter in a seven-play scoring drive that ended with Dustin Gapusan’s 15-yard touchdown reception to stretch the lead to 32-0.
“We just stayed positive,” York said of the halftime adjustment. “Tried a different approach because I’ve been negative on them. Let’s go positive and see what happens.
“For our guys it’s being able to come back and overcome adversity, in the series, in the half, in the game or in the season.”
Mililani will be playing for a D1 title this year. No running game against Kapolei shows that offense is not at the Open Div level…. the running game showed some promise against Farrington with Olomua and Kila eating up the front 7, don’t know why the change against Kapolei….