Mililani started the year with such high hopes. Then, things began to unravel a little bit.
The season came to an abupt end for the fourth-ranked Trojans Friday night in a disappointing 35-0 loss to No. 1 and still undefeated Saint Louis (11-0) in the Open Division semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Football State Championships.
From the outside looking in as the season wore on, it appeared that something went seriously wrong with the Mililani offense. What was a well-oiled, high flying machine hit the skids in the points department — and hard.
On Friday night, the Mililani defense stepped up and allowed the supercharged Crusaders just two touchdowns in the first half. But the end result was pretty much a forgone conclusion. Saint Louis and its able defense also put points on the board for a 21-0 halftime lead that became 35-0 at the end of three quarters.
The running clock took over to speed up the inevitable Crusaders’ win, but the Trojans’ team spirit and attitude didn’t fall apart. They were respectful in defeat and not super down. The band still played uplifting music after the whistle while the team gathered for one last huddle, heads held up high.
“I’m super thankful to play with these boys (and) I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Trojans senior linebacker Muelu Iosefa said. “I’m thankful for these coaches. I love them. I love my boys to death. I felt we did our job and our attitude was great at the end. Saint Louis is a great team.”
Added sophomore offensive lineman Mikey Agasiva: “Shoot, it was a tough one, taking this loss. But there’s nothing we can do. We can only get better from here. Practice hard and get the offseason work in. Today, we did our thing, but didn’t come out with the outcome we wanted.”
Coach Rod York blamed himself for the defeat.
“I’m proud of my seniors, proud of my guys because they always stuck together,” he said. “Saint Louis is a tough team. You make one mistake, they make you pay. I’m proud of my team. It’s (the loss) all on me.”
Mililani’s point totals in its 13 games went like this:
>> Aug. 8 vs. Campbell — 30 (W, 30-26)
>> Aug. 16 vs. Kahuku — 32 (W, 32-0)
>> Aug. 24 at Farrington — 35 (W, 35-0)
>> Aug. 30 vs. Liberty — 24 (W, 34-22)
>> Sept. 7 at Waianae — 50 (W, 50-6)
>> Sept. 14 vs. Kamehameha at Aloha Stadium — 34 (W, 34-0)
>> Sept. 21 vs. St. John Bosco — 10, (L, 42-10)
>> Sept. 27 vs. Saint Louis at Aloha Stadium — 21 (L, 54-21)
>> Oct. 5 vs. Kapolei — 21 (W, 21-0)
>> Oct. 11 vs. Punahou at Aloha Stadium — 0 (L, 3-0)
>> Oct. 18 vs. Farrington — 34 (W, 34-7)
>> Oct. 26 vs. Kahuku at Aloha Stadium — 3 (L, 3-7)
>> Nov. 22 vs. Saint Louis at Aloha Stadium — 3 (L, 0-35)
Three of their last four losses came without a touchdown. That is very un-Mililani like, even against tough teams.
“A lot of it had to do with confidence,” York said. “But it’s all on me. We lost by three to Punahou and they were ranked No. 7 or higher in the nation and we almost beat them. We lost to Kahuku 7-3 because of a kickoff return.”
Agasiva, who has two more seasons of high school ball to go, said, “I think it was that not all of us were clicking together as one, using one brain. We will learn from that, most definitely. To me, most of (the struggle to score points) was mental errors. Nothing much. Every team has that.”