Injured Mililani senior quarterback McKenzie Milton may return to full practice next week, Trojans head coach Rod York texted Hawaii Prep World on Wednesday.
“Right now, Dillon Gabriel is starting,” York texted. “He (McKenzie) is getting better. Looks like he’ll be back (taking reps at practice) next week.”
When pressed for further details, York — who is preparing for the biggest game of the year so far coming up — wrote, “Kahuku is all I’m thinking about.”
The defending state Division I and Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Trojans (9-1) play Kahuku (10-0) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.
Both teams are headed to the D-I states, which start the following weekend. The OIA champion gets a first-round bye.
According to Mark Milton, McKenzie’s father, the quarterback has been cleared to rehab and throw this week at Trojans practices.
“From what I heard, he was throwing well (Tuesday),” Mark Milton said. “We’re waiting for the doctor to clear him (for full practices and competition) next week. If that happens we’ll see how it goes. Best-case scenario is if Mililani can beat Kahuku and he comes back for the semis. We really wanted him to come back against Kahuku, but it wasn’t in the cards.
“It will all depend on what coach York wants to do (when the Trojans begin the state tournament). It’s a team game at the end of the day and we trust his judgment. Dillon Gabriel has been playing very well.”
Gabriel, a freshman, was brought up from the junior varsity squad and became Mililani’s starter in the playoffs.
Milton, the reigning Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State offensive player of the year who has given his oral commitment to the University of Hawaii, injured his right, throwing shoulder when he was hit by Kailua defensive lineman Christian Mejia during the first quarter of a 45-21 win Sept. 26.
Doctors initially expected Milton to be out 3-5 weeks, and the injury will hit the five-week mark on Saturday. Milton suffered an acromioclavicular joint separation.
Before the injury, Milton had passed for 2,000 yards and 26 TDs and rushed for 355 yards and another two TDs in seven games. Gabriel has passed for 353 yards and seven TDs in three games.