Mililani coach Rod York knows what it would take for a team to knock off his Trojans squad.
“If you can’t run the ball (against us) you can’t beat us,” York said.
That’s what made Friday night’s OIA quarterfinal game with Kaiser intriguing. The Cougars featured the OIA’s leading rusher in junior Jensen McDaniel and a quarterback in Kalawai’a Judd who is also effective on the ground.
Kaiser tried and tried to pound away at the Mililani defense, rushing 42 times against the Trojans. It proved futile the entire night as the Cougars were held to 102 rushing yards with McDaniel, whose season-low total was 83 to Castle coming in, totaling just 27 yards on 20 carries in the Trojans’ 54-14 win.
Defensive tackle Rex Manu led the Trojans defense by bottling up the middle and not allowing McDaniel to break through to the next level once the entire game.
With the run game nonexistant, Kaiser had to try and throw the ball and the Trojans feasted, especially their defensive ends.
Kaimana Padello led the way with two of Mililani’s five sacks and Tielu Mamea returned one of two Judd interceptions 84 yards for a toucchdown.
“(McDaniel) is definitely their strength and we felt like we could take away their running game and see what they do with their passing game,” York said.
Kaiser couldn’t do much.
“They’re a powerhouse,” Kaiser coach Cameron Higgins said. “They are creating dynasty at Mililani and I expect them to go far.”
Mililani (9-0) continued its streak of scoring at least 40 points in every game. The Trojans also got star wideout Kainoa Wilson back, who had six catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson hurt his collarbone in the season-opening win against Saint Louis and hadn’t played in exactly two months.
Quarterback McKenzie Milton enjoyed having his receiver back. Milton completed his first 13 throws and was 15-for-18 for 312 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 47 yards and a score.
Mililani will face Campbell in the OIA semifinals on Thursday at Aloha Stadium. The Sabers became the first road team to win a quarterfinal game in the OIA Red/Division I playoffs since 2007 by knocking off Leilehua.