Mililani rides RB Malosi Sam while playing without its head coach

Mililani's Malosi Sam carried the ball a staggering 43 times in the Trojans' win over Campbell. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

One game into his Mililani career, Malosi Sam already owns a place among the program’s elite.

The junior running back was admittedly feeling “a little bus’ up,” while walking toward the team bus after the fourth-ranked Trojans opened the season with a 30-26 comeback win over No. 3 Campbell on Friday night in Ewa Beach.

It’ll be understandable if he wants to sleep in a bit on Saturday after carrying the ball a staggering 43 times against the Sabers. The Saint Louis transfer finished the Trojans’ season opener with 259 yards and three touchdowns in Mililani’s 10th-straight win over Campbell.

His yardage total goes into the books as the third highest in the program’s history, trailing only Vavae Malepeai’s 282 rushing yards against Moanalua in 2015 and Brian Daniels’ 279 against Kailua in 2000.

Sam made his debut at Mililani after transferring from state champion Saint Louis, along with linebacker Wynden Hoohuli, who helped spark the Trojans’ defense with two interceptions in the second half. Sam led Saint Louis with 538 yards on 79 carries last season and scored two of his eight touchdowns in the Crusaders’ 38-17 victory over Mililani in the Open Division state championship game.

“Start out fresh,” Sam said of joining a new program. “I had to put in the work in the summer.”

He carried the ball on seven of the Trojans’ first eight plays, but was stopped short of the goal line on fourth-and-1 to end Mililani’s first possession. After Campbell took a 12–0 lead on touchdown receptions of 21 and 90 yards by Sabers two-way playmaker Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, Sam covered 30 yards on his next three carries and broke through with a 14-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.

He gave Mililani its first lead with a 2-yard run to cap a drive highlighted by a 54-yard completion from junior quarterback Brendyn Agbayani to Kanoa Gibson on the third play after halftime. Agbayani, stepping in for former All-State slinger Dillon Gabriel, completed 19 of 28 passes for 180 yards with two interceptions in his first start. Gibson accounted for 140 yards on 10 receptions.

After Campbell took a 26-20 lead on Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala’s 61-yard interception return on the final play of the third quarter, Sam capped an eight-play drive with a 31-yard burst up the middle on fourth-and-1. The PAT gave Mililani the lead for good at 27-26.

The Trojans then recovered a fumble, stretched the lead on Kaulana Navares’ third field goal of the game and got the ball right back on Hoohuli’s second interception of the game.

Sam then sealed the win with four more carries, the last gaining 18 yards on third-and-7 to allow Mililani to run out the clock.

“Crazy,” said Mililani assistant coach Maa Tanuvasa, who served as “substitute” head coach on Friday. “It only happens up front, our offensive line. We’ve got some great guys up front. They opened holes for Malosi and he seemed to find them. Even when it was’t there, he just pushed the pile.”

Mililani head coach Rod York’s absence from the sideline for what Tanuvasa called “personal reasons” was just one of the crazy elements of a season-opener that featured fireworks throughout the night — on the scoreboard and just outside the Sabers’ field.

“I just showed up today for the JV game and I guess it was personal reasons,” Tanuvasa said of York’s absence. “I got the text and it said ‘hey, you’re the head coach.’

“Maybe because I’ve been here the longest he put it on me. Just take it as it goes. Didn’t do much to change anything, let the coaches coach and I just called timeouts.”

Sam’s proficiency in grinding out first downs and the defense’s three takeaways in the second half led to Mililani running 45 plays on offense while Campbell’s offense was on the field for just 11 after halftime.

“Coach Rod wasn’t here today, this game was for him,” Hoohuli said. “We just came here to ball out.”

The Sabers scored on two big plays in the second half — a 55-yard run by St. Francis transfer Jonan Aina-Chaves and Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala’s interception return — but two turnovers resulted in Campbell running just five plays in the fourth quarter.

“We expect to play them again,” Campbell coach Darren Johnson said after Mililani took the early edge in the OIA Open Division race. “We just have to get better. We have to do the little things right and our kids know that we’re going to work, we’re going to get better and every week we have to prepare for somebody good.

“It’s time to move forward, move on. The coaches will go back and evaluate and we’ll practice on Monday.”

Campbell was without an All-State performer in Poki’i Adkins-Kupukaa, who spent the game on the sideline on crutches with his foot and lower leg in a protective boot. Johnson said the Sabers are aiming to have him back for their game at Kahuku on Aug. 31.

In the meantime, the next step for Campbell comes Thursday at Farrington while Mililani hosts No. 5 Kahuku on Friday.


  1. Farney August 10, 2019 8:35 am

    Lol, nice game St.Louis West. Poor homeboys in Milville, those that played pop warner,jv,varsity now gotta warm the bench in their senior year. How’s that for taking care of Mililani. New level of high school ball.

  2. HI HS FAN August 10, 2019 9:20 am

    The OIA Open Division is going to be a dogfight every week. Miliani and Campbell are the two top teams in the division. Kahuku, Kapolei, and Waianae will be battling among themselves to get into the playoffs. Unfortunately, Farrington is hurt by inexperience and players not qualified at the moment. However, the Governors can play spoilers as they develop throughout the season. Rumors at Red Raider Nation is that some key returnees have transferred out to the mainland. Therefore, they will open tonight against Kamehameha with a Sophmore starting quarterback and another Sophmore as a backup. The defense will need to hold up their end to keep Kahuku in ball games until the offense can establish themselves.

  3. ALOHA August 10, 2019 10:23 am

    In other words, no win over Sabers if it wasn’t for the former SAINT LOUIS CRUSADERS Malosi Sam and
    Wynden Ho’ohuli.

  4. Coach C August 10, 2019 10:30 am

    HI HS FAN. The soph. Qb at Kahuku has a UH offer. He should be okay. I like to think that Kahuku D can stuff the run (Mil). Campbell travels to The North this year. First things first, Kamehameha tonight. Again with the open, it’s how healthy you are at the end. I agree with Farner that the OIA / DOE needs to get this “transfer” rule under control. If you get a private school scholarship then move over to public school because that coach will let you start, that slaps the local kid on the bench. Sit one year like ILH rule. SPECTRUM fail last night.

  5. Soleuce August 10, 2019 11:07 am

    @ALOHA and @FARNEY
    Last year Campbell was full of KAHUKU transfers but no one was complaining then!

  6. Soleuce August 10, 2019 11:10 am

    @FARNEY…Millilani is a good middle class to upper class wholesome neighbor hood! Idk why y’all I keep tryna put some stank on it and call it milvill?! Also there are no “homeboys” in Mililani lol cmon!

  7. Farney August 10, 2019 11:18 am

    @soleuce, because it’s a public to public transfer. And yes people was complaining. If you decide to leave a private school and go to a public, then you should play for your district or the closes OPEN school. As it is now, Milvill may have +30 kids from out of district. Remind me of a kid who wanted a DE out because of bullying. DOE said, live with it ,no room at other schools.

  8. Soleuce August 10, 2019 11:22 am

    @FARNEY it doesn’t matter tranfer is a transfer. Those kids from kahuku didn’t move to ewa beach they all stil live in kahuku and played for Campbell. If Jordan botehlo or Jayden delaura transferred to Campbell and they starting winning. No one would complain.

  9. Hilarious August 10, 2019 11:46 am

    National Pass league champions sabers.
    In real football pads , same results lol. The score doesn’t show outcome of game, mililani supposed to win my 3 TDS for whoever witnessed the game , look at the stats . Again , game is won In trenches , no matter how good ur skill players are. Proven fact last night. Congrats mililani , they physically handled those sabers

  10. TransfersAndRecruitsR-US August 10, 2019 12:59 pm


  11. Hee-Haw August 10, 2019 1:31 pm

    Where was Coach York???

  12. warningtrackbound August 10, 2019 1:46 pm


    It’s the reality of high school sports now. It seems like all the ILH supporters on this subject can’t face the reality that Mililani is a great school with a strong football team. Mililani has evolved with the times and that’s why they remain relevant. People who bring up R. Y’s personal life during football matters need to stop. I expect football coaches to coach football, not raise my children. Mililani is not, and will not be the only OIA school to receive interest from private school kids wishing to transfer.

  13. Opinion August 10, 2019 2:31 pm

    I’m guessing not too many since most of the good Mililani kids are on full rides at the Lu 😂

  14. small world August 10, 2019 4:09 pm

    @hee-haw, wonder if his absence had anything to do with his physical assault on one of Campbell’s coach earlier this year @ Campbell’s 7’s tournament?

  15. Football Love August 10, 2019 5:12 pm

    @ “Coach C” those kids didn’t transfer because they wanted to Start!!! lmao did you read the article correctly? That running back scored twice on Mililani during the Championship! That kid was a Starting Sophomore at the best school in the state! Not many kids can do that!!
    And for the complaining about the Mililani Seniors not being able to play or whatever….. how good are they? How much extra work are they putting in? So they should play because there Seniors? and then get there dreams crushed when they go to college and ride the bench ? Lol ! Come on guys – be real with your kids!! If they got – they got it . But if they don’t….. there plenty of other things for them to do in life! Is it your dream or there’s?

  16. TransfersAndRecruitsR-Us August 10, 2019 8:06 pm

    So now St Lou lous roster is full of Mililani kids? Thats a first lol

  17. Mililani hammer August 10, 2019 10:29 pm

    Malosi Sam played for Mililani Trojans popwarner along with my son back in the day. As kahuku peeps would say ” he’s just coming back home to play “. His dad was coaching as well. Good job Malosi!!

  18. Trustno1 August 11, 2019 5:32 am

    Negative on all the good mililani kids up at St. Louis! Full rides! C’mon man! Also negative on Malosi coming back home to mililani. Ok maybe he played in Mililani when he was 7or 8 but after that he’s been in Ewa playing for the sabers/hammerheads/ or one of the many teams in Ewa. The kid is a stud. Wish he would’ve stayed at St. Louis because he would’ve been the featured back with Shaka Paikai gone bc of graduation. Anyways lots of talk on the slopes on why he and Hoohuli transferred. At least these kids are still playing and having fun. Good football this weekend! 808vsEverybody

  19. Leonardo August 11, 2019 6:27 am

    coach rod aka Raphael had to help his fellow ninja turtles scrap with beebopp and rocksteady. that’s why he could not show up. turtle power!!!

  20. SaberAllDay August 11, 2019 1:33 pm

    @Hillarious just stop because that statement you just made was hillarious. The real MVP of this game is Milz Kicker. 12pts worth of Field goals. How can you say Milz was supposed to be up by 3TDs. Stop it lol! Take away the 12pts from your kicker and Saber Nation would walked away with a Victory. Save that nonsense. Sabers didnt execute like they should have on offense or defense. We could have been better and played better. We beat ourselves along with your Milz Kicker. The kicker made the difference. All of our points came from drives to goal line. All of Sabers points where TD in the endzone. Just stop! Half of your score came from FG. Give me a break. We will see Milz again. Sabers all day!

  21. Ouch August 11, 2019 6:18 pm

    Saber all day, mililani dominated the line of scrimmage , you forget mililani was in the 5 yard line three times n didn’t score? U forget that Campbell’s total offense ,more than half came off two big plays? You forget mililani had 5 turnovers ? You forget that rod York wasn’t calling plays ? Brah sabers going get lickens from Kahuku , Punahou , Saint Louis and possibly Kamehameha. Pass league champions , that’s all they good for. Real life pad football , same old story.

  22. 86 August 12, 2019 12:21 pm

    SaberAllDay- enough with if we did this or did that! Or if we did this and did that! Nothing but excuses. You could say the same thing for Mililani, what if they executed in defense and offense? It would’ve been a blowout! You just got out coached by a substitute OC that has no clue about football. I think he’s a receiver
    Coach that doesn’t even know how to coach recievers. Just plain sad! All he did was call run plays and they won. Fix your OC bc he should’ve never stopped going to Titus Atimalala. Probably the best wr in the state! Know who your players are! Cmon man this is the Open Division.

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