We all know how good Kahuku’s offensive line is nearly every year, and the same goes for Mililani.
But over in Central Oahu this year, they seem to have found something extra special with this version of the Trojans’ offensive line.
The unit owned the line of scrimmage against what is considered a tough Waianae defense on Friday night and it spurred a 42-6 victory in the Oahu Interscholastic Association D-I semifinals and a spot in the title game against the Red Raiders.
Look for the spotlight to be on the trenches when Mililani and Kahuku play for the league championship Nov. 4.
“They are just dominating the line of scrimmage,” said one veteran reporter about the Trojans’ O-line near the end of Friday’s game. “And that’s not easy to do against Waianae.”
Indeed. The third-ranked Trojans (10-0) had their way up front against the sixth-ranked Seariders (6-4). It’s likely to be a bigger test, though, against Kahuku’s aggressive defense.
That title game actually looks to be won at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball because both teams have excellent front sevens on defense as well.
“Winning up front was key and our offensive and defensive line did really well,” said Trojans coach Rod York, whose team has now won a state-best 14 games in a row and, like No. 2 Kahuku, earned a spot in the state Division-I Open state tournament.
From left to right, the Trojans line up with tackle Rio Claytor, guard Sergio Muasau, center Noah Williams, guard Scottie Agasiva and tackle Ikaika Lafaele. The group is composed, determined and technically savvy. Williams and Agasiva have been invited to the Polynesian Bowl.
When all is said and done this season, it would not be a surprise for coach York to say it’s the best O-line he’s had. But he ain’t saying that any time soon. There’s too much of the season left.
Junior quarterback Dillon Gabriel didn’t mince words when asked about their contribution after the victory.
“The O-line, they get endless love,” he said. “They’re top notch and I can’t complain. I didn’t get touched for a long time. They’re a big reason why we win and I can’t thank them enough.”
Defensively, end Shane Kady and others were in Waianae quarterback Justin Tacgere and running back Rico Rosario‘s face all night. Darius Muasau and Mykah Tuiolemotu also got plenty of licks in.
“We wanted to take away their strength, and their strength was No. 6 (Rosario),” York said.
Gabriel talked about the team that will be waiting for them in two weeks — Kahuku.
“We’re gonna use the bye week to lift and get healthy again,” he said. “It’s a big game. We’ve been waiting for them for two years.”
Mililani and Kahuku last met in the 2015 OIA championship game, when the Red Raiders defense ignited a 20-7 victory. All-State Kahuku safety Keala Santiago intercepted three passes. Gabriel had been thrust into the starting role as a freshman following an injury to McKenzie Milton, and he joined Milton on the sideline with a shoulder injury in the second quarter.
The Trojans (10-0) are going for their fourth OIA D-I title in eight seasons, having won it in 2010, 2013 and 2014. Kahuku (9-1) is trying for its seventh league crown in 10 seasons, with championships in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Waianae (6-4) still has a chance to make it to the D-I-Open states and can do it with a Nov. 4 win over Campbell (7-4) in the OIA D-I third-place game.
“I just told them that we still gotta go play,” Seariders coach Walter Young said. “We’ve still got that third-place game to get into states. There’s a lot of things we can get better prepared for next time. I’m proud of them, they played until the end. We’re gonna put this behind us and move on to the next one.
“We cannot go in there (against Campbell) thinking it’s the same game. We’ve got two weeks to prepare for them and I’m pretty sure they’re gonna prepare for us the same way, so we’re gonna go in there and work hard.”
On Aug. 25, Waianae beat Campbell 27-14 in a regular-season game.
Mililani receiver Ryan Chang, who was felled early on by Waianae’s Sam Freeney with a hard, high hit, received medical attention and didn’t return to the game, is apparently OK.
“He has a headache,” York said. “He’ll be back.”
Freeney was called for targeting on the play and was ejected from the game.