Rod York said a lot in one sentence:
“I’m glad he’s on our side.”
The Mililani coach was referring to Mykah Tuiolemotu, who is up to the same old tricks — and then some — this season. The defensive tackle was a beast for the Trojans during last year’s run to the OIA finals and state semifinals.
In a 57-15 Open Division victory over No. 10 Farrington on Saturday night, Tuiolemotu had a sack and he forced a fumble.
But he came up with other big plays as well. In the first quarter, Farrington was at the Mililani 26 with a fourth down and 2, and Tuiolemotu stopped Govs running back Selau Kalani in his tracks. Trojans ball.
Sure, the Mililani offense was on a roll all night long. But the defense had a field day, too. Javon Olomua had two sacks and six others had one — Ezra Save (safety), Mckenna Alcover, Layton Kam, Manu Penitani, Dylan Surface and Cody McLeod. That doesn’t count the guys that were right in there as part of the gang while the initial hit was being made.
That’s one thing about Mililani that people can forget because the offense is always in the limelight: The Trojans’ defense comes at you in swarms.
But Tuiolemotu also helped on the offensive side, lining up at fullback and leading the way for two Raysen Motoyama 5-yard TD runs. On the first one, a sweep to the right, three Mililani blockers pummeled two defenders to the ground and Motoyama only had to tiptoe over those Govs’ sprawled arms to get to the outside and into the end zone. This was the first play it was evident that Tuiolemotu was in there on offense, too.
“He’s a leader that’s for sure,” Trojans defensive line coach Ma’a Tanuvasa said. “He doesn’t pass the eye test because of his stature. But his heart, his drive, the way he runs on that field … everybody knows what he brings. He leads by example, and it’s hard to block quickness, whether he’s playing defensive line or fullback.”
Tanuvasa guessed that Tuiolemotu was 6 foot, 230 pounds. Actually, the kid said he’s only 5-9, 220. Last season, he was playing at as much as 250 pounds.
“I lost weight so I can have more stamina throughout the game and get to the quarterback faster,” he said. “Without them (teammates), I wouldn’t be able to make any plays. My ends squeeze and the quarterback comes to me and I fill in there. We all work together.”
Said York, “He could start on the O-line, running back, fullback or linebacker. He’s playing where we need him most for our team. That’s the great thing about him. He loves his role and that’s why he’s a team leader. He’s gotten lighter, but he’s stronger and more explosive and you can see it with what he’s doing out there.”
Tuiolemotu talked about one skill he’s learned from Tanuvasa.
“If a lineman locks on to my jersey, coach told me a way to get out of it,” he said. “It’s an armbar thing and it’s really effective. I go around (arms to the side) and wrap my hands together and throw his arms off.”
Mililani (2-0, 1-0 OIA Open) hosts Kamehameha next Saturday. Farrington (1-1, 0-1 OIA Open) is at Campbell the same night.