In order to play beyond his years, Mililani sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel knows that it starts with his approach.
“I play every game like it’s my senior year,” he said. “I just want to go out there and play hard for my brothers next to me.”
In Friday night’s 51-35 win over Leilehua in the Division I semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships, Gabriel went 16-for-25 with 224 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a score and totaled 56 yards on 11 carries in the win.
“He did his part. He’s one of 11 and he did his part,” Mililani coach Rod York said stoically. “That’s all we ask everybody to do. Do your part and he did his job.”
The even-keeled Gabriel embodied those sentiments, deferring praise to his coaches and teammates.
“Coach just said we have to execute and believe in his game plan,” he said. “He’s gonna put us in positions to flourish so we just gotta believe that.”
The underclassman figures to star under center for the Trojans for years to come. But first, the HSSAA Division I state title game awaits. The Trojans will take on ‘Iolani at Aloha Stadium on Friday, Nov. 18.
“We just gotta play like it’s a normal game even though we know we’re gonna be playing a great team,” Gabriel said. “We gotta play like we got nothing to lose.”