The OIA’s most balanced conference (Blue) was often merciless for teams like Moanalua during the regular season. Last week’s 58-22 win at Leilehua demonstrated the strength of the playoff format, which allows all but the last-place teams of each conference to qualify for the playoffs.
Alaka‘i Yuen‘s breakout season has yet to end. The junior has thrown 25 TD passes with just eight picks (2,286 yards) in nine games. Na Menehune continue to spread the ball around; seven players have at least 10 receptions. The gem of the bunch remains Michael Feliciano, who has played through injury and still picked up a combined 1,848 yards and 21 TDs from scrimmage. And he also returns kicks.
The Trojans, though, have not missed a beat since Kaysen Higa stepped onto the field after McKenzie Milton‘s shoulder injury. OK, there was that one-half hiccup against Kailua when Higa, suddenly thrust into action, missed on his first 10 pass attempts. But he finished that game with nine hits on his last 14 tosses, and for the season he has thrown seven TDs with only one interception.
Freshman Dillon Gabriel may see some action depending on coach Rod York‘s decisions, and he offers a scrambling threat to go with his passing skills.
The burden, though, has fallen to the O-line and RB Vavae Malepeai. The senior has embraced a heavier load and now has 1,073 rushing yards and 20 rushing TDs on the year.
With backups in the pocket, Mililani’s passing game has only taken a slightly lesser weight in the grand scheme. Kalakaua Timoteo (38 receptions, 783 yards, 14 TDs) is still a major target, and Bryson Ventura (29, 518, seven) continues to answer when his number is called. Rico Sallas and Makana Tauai have been reliable slot receivers. Sallas is healthy again after missing a stint due to injury.