Mililani’s quest: So close, yet so far

Mililani quarterback Dillon Gabriel kept the ball on a run in the second quarter against Saint Louis. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Last week, it was Kahuku in the Oahu Interscholastic Association title game.

This week, it was defending state champion Saint Louis. For a second week in a row, the Mililani Trojans played unsurpassed football. Then, a mighty foe surpassed them. Mililani roared to a 23-10 lead, then saw Saint Louis ratchet up to a new level. The final score of Saint Louis’ 47-23 victory in the semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Open Division State Championships doesn’t tell the whole story.

What story? It’s the tale of how the pupil, Trojans coach Rod York, nearly toppled his mentor(s), Saint Louis gurus Cal Lee and Ron Lee.

In the end, Mililani quarterback Dillon Gabriel amassed 254 passing yards and 56 rushing yards, throwing for three TDs. That would normally be enough to beat most formidable opponents. The Trojans happened to face the most prolific offensive mind in state history — Ron Lee, the Saint Louis offensive coordinator — and he pushed all the right buttons after halftime.

Still, York took the brunt of the defeat on his shoulders.

“Man, they were just explosive. My fault. I just got to do a better job. I’m proud of my guys. I don’t put it on them. I put it on me,” he said. “Credit Coach Cal, his staff, the Saint Louis Crusaders, man, they have a helluva team. They showed it. They proved it. Nobody has done that to us. They got superior coaching and they got dudes from one through 100.”

Gabriel, an unpredictable junior, has fleet feet and a quick release that are surpassed only by his counterpart, Chevan Cordeiro.

“They balled. They are a good team,” Gabriel said. “They’re the best team in the state and they showed it, too. I didn’t play the best, so I blame it on myself. I just felt like I didn’t play up to par.”

He completed 23 of his 49 attempts and had one pick to go with three TDs, but much of that was Saint Louis’ adjustments after the half.

Gabriel became the 16th quarterback on Oahu to surpass 6,000 career passing yards and with a season to go, is on pace to break Tua Tagovailoa‘s state passing mark of 8,158 yards.

Nick Abramo contributed to this post.


  1. HI HS FAN November 11, 2017 6:32 am

    Mililani, again, proved they are among the top teams in the state. Even though a heartbreaking loss last week and facing the best team in the state, they proved they are one of the best teams. With a quarterback, receivers, and some of their offensive lineman returning they will be one of the favorites in the OIA and state next year.

  2. November 11, 2017 6:51 am

    not hard to see stlois has better talent in ilh faster guys

  3. Period November 11, 2017 7:44 am

    I think they need to recruit better. One of St. Louis’ honey holes are the boys of Kalihi. Ask Tyson Alu Alu who plays for the NFL and came from the Palama Scorpions. Period.

  4. Alpha November 11, 2017 7:52 am

    Mililani will never reach oia/state champs again, this year’s team would have been their best shot. A Lot of wasted talent not being utilized and we got to see what next year’s Offensive squad looked like against Kahuku and St Louis. Not impressive to say the least, put your studs in position to make plays, not enough if any second half adjustments.

  5. Hau'ulaBoy November 11, 2017 11:37 am

    Alpha dont be sour just cause your team didn’t prevail. Mililani had a great game plan.They just got beat by an amazing effort of one guy. That wideout was special. This guy did this all season long. So hats off to Mil Vil and good luck next season.RR4L._.

  6. Choloropicrin November 11, 2017 1:34 pm

    Mililani and Kahuku are the clear favorites in the OIA in 2018. Both will have veteran QBs returning and many starters in both sides of the ball. I bet they are both in the OIA title game next year. The 3rd OIA team is up for grabs as Waianae, Campbell and Kapolei are in the next tier below Kahuku and Mililani.

  7. anywaaaays!! November 11, 2017 3:57 pm

    Rod York: “Dang. It’s my fault. It’s all on the coaches. We should’ve recruited more!”

  8. Too Meke 2 November 12, 2017 7:21 am

    Look are anywaaays back with username #13. Haha Paul exposed you, you damn freak! Like the others said go back to Waialua. Get out of mommy’s basement. Get off her internet. Stop being hateful since you neither played football and couldn’t apply to any ILH school since you couldn’t afford a stamp and didn’t know how to fill out the app.

    Instead of being hateful towards the ILH, you need to be angry at your parents for failing you.

    It’s oretty sad you got cut from the Waialua Football Team. But, it’s more sad that Paul exposed you, lol.


  9. HBoy November 12, 2017 7:22 am

    Coaching was part of it but it was totally the result of a young speedy receiver that was in a class all by himself. Speed kills and it was very apparent in that game. He was the reason st louis won. Without him it would’ve looked like the OIA championship game with a hard fought tight game. Cordeiro was scary good too but Mitchell was the difference. Bumbai Mililani next year. Kahuku will need to spy on Cordeiro and Mitchell all game or it may get scary. Go BIG RED.

  10. TooMeke November 12, 2017 11:40 am

    They always say: “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”

    I’m flattered. Wanna follow me on twitter too? Snapchat? Instagram?



  11. Dafun November 12, 2017 2:48 pm

    You take away football from kahuku and the north shore only has pcc to be excited about

  12. Hau'ulaBoy November 12, 2017 6:09 pm

    Nah, we have some of the best surf, Laie Point (jump rock), we get plenty pig trails, we get the motor cross and Hau’ula and Laie can always beef with each other for stay entertained. Oh, and we get the best grad partys. Hahahaha. RR4L._.

  13. Awrite!! November 12, 2017 6:37 pm

    Take away football from St. Louis and the school goes out of business.

    ..Millions of visitors go to the North Shore every year and Kahuku Alum John John Florence will be a repeat world Champ this December, lots to be excited for.

  14. dafun November 13, 2017 4:31 pm

    haha take away football from st louis at least we still get jobs on our side. you get nothing over there

  15. Mana Kahala November 14, 2017 7:52 pm

    Take away football from kahuku,then we jus join the rest of the North Shore boys at St.louis,Punahou,Utah,Arizona,california,Nevada, etc…!…Red Raiders World wide!
    Good luck to both teams this week.

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