Mililani’s pass rush goes to town with Tristen Townes in win at Waianae

Mililani defensive lineman Tristen Townes (59) chased after Waianae quarterback Sheldon McLeod (2) during the first half of Saturday's game. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The setting was, just perhaps, perfect for the Waianae Seariders.

Home crowd at Raymond Torii Field. No. 2 Mililani coming off an emotional and huge win over Liberty (Nev.), the No. 2 team in its state.

The problem is, the Mililani Trojans like to eat. So many hungry players. Tristen Townes was in on four of the visitors’ five sacks as No. 2 Mililani (5-0, 4-0 Open Division) prevailed over Waianae 50-6 on Saturday night. Tristen Townes? Not many prep football fans outside of Millvill know much about the 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior.

“The defense, I just see a bunch of hammers going after the offense,” Mililani senior wide receiver Kanoa Gibson said. “Tristen is an animal. He’s a beast.”


Waianae (1-4, 1-3) came out with a game plan to work its run-pass option game, and it worked early on. But when the Seariders couldn’t get that running game flowing, Townes and his teammates brought the heat when Waianae’s Sheldon McLeod needed time to throw. No. 59 seemed to be in the pocket on every crucial third down.

“Honestly, my team, they fed me. My other teammates, they did all their jobs. We did all our jobs,” Townes said.

The Seariders usually went with a shotgun, two-running back set, but one of the many keys to making a transition from a run-heavy philosophy to a wide-open, spread concept is raising a unified group of pass protectors. It will take time.

“We left a lot of plays out there that we didn’t execute on both sides of the ball,” Waianae first-year coach Mike Fanoga said. “We’re so young. We’re just trying to teach them how to compete. Mililani is a good team with people in place. We’ve got to put our people in place.”

The adjustments include position changes that have been ongoing since preseason. One involves talented Adonnis Puou, who has moved from tight end to offensive tackle. He was 255 pounds on his 6-2 frame as a tight end. As a lineman now, he’s packing on 280, Fanoga said.

“Our D-line is young, too,” Fanoga said.

But how does the former college assistant coach process this, coaching in the gauntlet known as the Open Division — arguably one of the toughest prep football leagues in the nation?

“I feel hurt about losing,” he said. “It’s no fun losing in front of our crowd.”

His honesty is refreshing. For all the effort from the Seariders players and coaches, they are learning to be patient. That will go a long way as the Seariders adapt to a new era of wide-open football. Between McLeod and backup Shaydon Lopes, the offense moved with efficiency at times. The word after the game as the team congregated had everything to do with working harder, lifting higher, reaching a new level.

In decades past, it was enough to roll out the wing-T smashmouth attack and overpower the smaller programs and teams in the OIA West. In the Open, there are no lightweights, literally. Waianae’s next foe: No. 3 Punahou, next Saturday at Aloha Stadium.


  1. Unsung September 8, 2019 7:15 am

    Mililani OLine again did their job well they are the unsung unnamed hero’s putting up the walls and opening the running lanes

  2. 94 September 8, 2019 11:16 am

    Got to hand it to the coaching staff for mixing around the players on D, D looks very strong and the O line is the best in the state.

  3. Lou September 8, 2019 12:35 pm

    Gotta take my hat off to York for taking recruiting to another level . Not even the ILH can recruit 1st year seniors.

  4. 209to808 September 8, 2019 2:11 pm

    You’re are so right! Our Son is in the O-line and does his job ALWAYS! Thank you for recognizing our O-line!
    Much Mahalos! #Tojanpride

  5. ItIsWhatItIs September 8, 2019 5:48 pm

    @notes, ???, Mahut G, & the rest of the ILH mad dogs!
    Where are you with all the talk about how recruiting is ruining the balance of high school football? Or is it ok when a OIA team does it to another OIA team? Just asking…. Congrats Mill you looking beast!! Stay healthy

  6. notes September 8, 2019 9:53 pm

    i already said before that the ILH and “coach” cal lee has destroyed the competitive balance of high school football so much that OIA schools are FORCED to recruit. I don’t hate on rod york for doing what he can to be successful. don’t get mad at the victims, get mad at the people who put them there in the first place. we need to clean house and it starts with the ILH

  7. Hau’ulaBoy September 8, 2019 10:06 pm

    Notes you clown. What is the ILH supposed to do? They are private schools. They have to kids from around the state. Who cares if they get the best kids from around the state. We true Red Raiders know we can still compete. We’ve done it before and we will do it again. RR4L

  8. Hau’ulaBoy September 8, 2019 10:09 pm

    Sorry. Get kids from around the state.

  9. Hau’ulaBoy September 8, 2019 10:22 pm

    Who cares? Don’t worry about others. Just worry us. Those who worry about others, waste time that could be spent on something useful.

  10. Hau’ulaBoy September 8, 2019 10:28 pm

    Correction, just worry about us.

  11. Hau’ulaBoy September 8, 2019 10:35 pm

    MiliVill looks like the clear cut #2 in the state. Congrats to Trojans. Get to work Waianae.

  12. HLI September 9, 2019 10:42 am

    Best Oline in the state?? hmmmmm.

    Not fully convinced on that, maybe one of the better groups but not the best.

  13. Mililani hammer September 11, 2019 9:28 pm

    Well said Hau’ula boy! I know north shore has good humble prideful people like yourself. There’s just a handful of a$$h%*&s that makes a good community look bad!

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