Mililani’s conquest of Liberty is part of Hawaii’s double whammy

Mililani's Micah Kim carried defenders for a 7-yard gain in the first quarter. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

It was a huge hole that Mililani climbed out of in Friday night’s 34-22 victory over Liberty at John Kauinana Stadium.

Patience helped. No panic. The Trojans shook off two glaring mistakes, put the momentum on their own backs and then pretty much took the game away with dominant line play.

>> CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE GAME


The first obstacle was the pesky 16 points the visitors from Henderson, Nev., rung up in the first 9:52.

Mistake number one came when Patriots slotback/running back Edward Gastelum sped off the line and got open for a quick hitter from quarterback Kanyon Stonekinga on a seam route. It caught the blitzing Trojans off guard and Gestelum, a speedster, had only to break an ankle tackle to go 57 yards for a touchdown.

Next, Liberty’s Donte Bowers Jr. snagged an ill-advised Brendyn Agbayani pass and took it back to the house to make it (thanks to two successful two-point conversions) 16-0.

Aside from two field goals by Dillon Fedor, Liberty did not get any more points the rest of the night against a hungry Trojans defense.

And the Mililani offensive line kicked in to free the slippery and quick Jasiah Alcover for 101 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, Kanoa Gibson made Liberty’s secondary pay big-time, catching eight Agbayani passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

Micah Kim‘s 10-yard TD sweep late in the game gave the Trojans the TKO. It capped an 80-yard, time-consuming drive that turned a slim, five-point lead into a more comfortable 12 points.

Liberty needed a miracle that didn’t come.

“It wasn’t the result that we wanted,” Patriots linebacker/safety Zyrus Fiaseu said. “But we’ll keep working.”

The victory in the Aloha Football Classic for Mililani (No. 2 in Hawaii, 4-0) over Liberty (No. 2 in Nevada, 0-2) was part of a huge night in Hawaii. In the other Classic game, Saint Louis (No. 1 in Hawaii, 3-0) topped Bishop Gorman (No. 1 in Nevada, 1-1) 31-19 at Aloha Stadium.

“It was nothing special,” Alcover said. “They came out here looking for competition. We gave them the competition and we came out with the dub. It’s all about the team. The only reason why we got so many yards was because of the O-line.”

Liberty outgained Mililani 267 to 230, but the Trojans yielded just 15 rushing yards and that turned out to be a major difference in the outcome. That and Mililani’s 144 rushing yards.


“We couldn’t stop the run,” Patriots coach Rich Muraco said. “And we only had five plays in the third quarter. You can’t establish momentum if you can’t control the ball and they (the Trojans) did.”

Muraco added that it was a case of losing momentum and never being able to get it back.

“We did not overcome the adversity that I was hoping we would,” he said. “That’s why we try to play these games against tough teams. There are going to be ebbs and flows and ups and downs. I wanted the kids to learn how to fight through that stuff and we just didn’t.”

Agbayani, who threw for 186 yards, shook off that slow start and was effective despite a heavy rush.

“The line held it down,” he said. “The defense was giving it, so we just wanted to bring it back (from the deficit). I respect them (the Patriots). They’re a very good team. Our line held it down. Our run game was really strong. Their linebackers are pretty strong. I got hit a lot and had to get up a lot. And Gibson, he gets a lot of separation.”

Linebacker Wynden Hoohuli was one of the many on the Trojans’ wrecking crew that finished with three sacks and five tackles for loss. Sonny Semeatu, Shane Kady, Bam Amina, Manu Penitani and Muelu Iosefa were among the others making big hits.

“We missed our chance on that one play,” Hoohuli said, referring to Gestelum’s TD for Liberty. “But we’re (all) good. We adjusted. That’s a pretty tough team. We believed in ourselves and we ended up pulling it out. We came together and played to the best of our abilities and got this dub for the coaches, the community and our families.”

Mililani’s Wynden Hoohuli sacked Liberty quarterback Lonenoa Faoa in the first quarter. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Trojans coach Rod York put the victory in perspective.

“It didn’t really count,” he said. “It was just an exhibition game. It didn’t matter if we won or lost. It just mattered how we played and executed. They’re a tough team. They’re a big team. They’re bigger, faster and stronger than us. It was about execution and playing well and playing together.

“We feed off of our defense. They played good to hold them so our offense could get clicking. We found a couple of things and kept exploiting it. (On offense), we dominated the trenches and that’s what we rely on. We played great D and special teams and our offense came to life. The run game helps.”

Muraco and his Patriots have three more games coming up against out-of-state teams.


Losing 34-22 at Mililani isn’t as memorable as when Liberty topped the McKenzie Milton-led Trojans 76-53 in Nevada in 2015.

“They (the Trojans) played great,” Muraco said. “You can’t take anything away from them. It’s not like we gave them the game or anything. They took it. They wanted it and they executed and we came out flat in the second half.”

COMMENTS

  1. 94 August 31, 2019 2:23 am

    Dem boiz came out to play. Especially that defense that no one respects. Was down 19-7 half time and D just exploded. Couple mistake happen in the first half but saw them bounce back on D and offense was on point. Good game Trojans. Again, team effort won the game.


  2. Just asking August 31, 2019 3:34 am

    Can someone please tell me what the logo on Mililani helmet is? I’m not trying to be a smart ass I just don’t know what it is.


  3. RidgeRunnerDD-214 August 31, 2019 7:33 am

    HPW: “Hawaii’s double whammy”
    Kapolei: “Am I a joke to you?”


  4. Mililani hammer August 31, 2019 8:42 am

    @ just asking- It’s a trojan head with polynesian tatts on its face. It’s Ironic how we couldn’t stop the run in our first meeting with liberty,this time they couldn’t stop our’s. Anyways great job o-line and defense! GO TROJANS!!


  5. Ili foree August 31, 2019 10:12 am

    The unsung hero’s who put up that wall and open the running lanes was the constant for Mililani was the OLine. Thomas,Muasau,James-Fainga,Tuatagaloa,Agasiva,Tovi that’s the O. Applause to these young men you did your job well!!!!!


  6. IKR August 31, 2019 10:20 am

    #3 😂😂😂😂 WE LUV YOU TOO KAP CITY!!


  7. 808sredir August 31, 2019 4:29 pm

    Not double whammy its a TKO


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