As the Friday night lights come back to life in Ewa Beach this week, expect Rod York and the Mililani Trojans to bring their share of fireworks.
York has never lost a season opener as Mililani head coach heading into Friday night’s showdown at No. 3 Campbell at 7:30 p.m.
In his nine season openers, York’s Mililani teams have averaged 45.4 points and allowed only 13.0 points. He will be breaking in a new quarterback in an opener for the first time since Robert Falefine and McKenzie Milton split time in 2013 after Jarin Morikawa graduated.
The Trojans will be in the unfamiliar position of slight underdogs in hostile territory, with Mililani ranked No. 4 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 poll and Darren Johnson‘s Sabers one spot ahead of the Trojans at No. 3. It is the first time since the first week of 2012, when Campbell was No. 9 and Mililani was No. 10, that the Sabers have enjoyed such an edge.
Not that it is an edge. Mililani ended Campbell’s season 24-2 last year at Aloha Stadium. It is not unreasonable to think that one of them could end the other’s season this year.
The Sabers haven’t beaten Mililani since 2011, a string of nine straight losses. That was the only time York lost to the Sabers. Johnson has never coached against York, but he is 1-2 against him as an offensive coordinator, capped off with scoring 50 points against him at Kahuku in 2012. He put 22 on York in 2013 and scored 14 with Kapolei in 2014. Only Saint Louis and St. John Bosco have put 50 on Mililani since.
York’s teams have exceeded 40 points in nine of 11 games against Campbell but the 24 they scored last year were the fewest since 2011.
The teams have opened a season against each other three times; Campbell won all of them.
York has never lost a season opener and Mililani hasn’t lost a season opener since 2008 at Castle with Matt Milton at quarterback. Johnson is 9-3 in season openers.
Mililani leads the all-time series 21-8-1.
In other Open Division games this weekend:
>> Kapolei (1-0) at No. 7 Waianae (1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Waianae has spent an eternity looking for balance and it seems to have taken Mike Fanoga one game to find it.
The Seariders showed off a new offense last week vs. Waipahu in Fanoga’s coaching debut with the Seariders, with Sheldon McLeod throwing for 212 yards with three touchdowns and Kolu Quisquirin-Sabagala rushing for 150 with one score.
That is certainly new for the program. The last time Waianae had a quarterback throw for more than 200 yards and a running back chew up more than 100 was way back in 1990 when Sam Keaulii threw for 211 and legendary Lono Manners ran for 114 against Saint Louis. Glenn Freitas (201) and David Kane (107) are the only other pair in school history to do so, compiling their feat against Mililani in 1991.
Waianae hasn’t had a quarterback exceed 200 yards in back-to-back games since Puletua Wilson in 2010.
After dispatching the defending Division I state champion in a high-scoring affair, Waianae will test itself against Kapolei. The Hurricanes opened with a rout of Castle behind dynamic duo Noa Bailey (306 yards, three touchdowns) at quarterback and De’Zhaun Stribling (134, two) as his favorite target.
Bailey, who is the first Hurricane to open a season with a 300-yard game, put up 37 attempts in the air against the Knights and Hernandez called only 20 run plays. Waipahu stayed on the ground for 34 attempts against Waianae while throwing the ball only 22 times.
Hernandez knows how to deal with a balanced offense if last week is any indication. John Hao‘s Knights dialed up 28 passes against the Hurricanes last week and ran the ball 33 times. Castle was able to put up 24 points.
Fanoga can be just the second Waianae coach to start his career 2-0, joining Danny Matsumoto, who won his first 11 games.
Waianae leads the series 10-7, but the Seariders haven’t beat the Hurricanes at Raymond Torii Field since 2013.
>> No. 2 Punahou at Farrington, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Punahou coach Kale Ane will probably be content to keep the past in the past this week.
The Buffanblu boss leads his charges against the Govs, hoping to add to a six-game winning streak against the former ILH rival. The Governors haven’t beaten the Buffanblu since they shared a league in 1969, when Onosai Tanuvasa scored all 20 points in a 20-19 come-from-behind victory on Turkey Day in front of 22,000 fans. Ane was named to the ILH’s second team at center the next day, although he saw Tanuvasa’s brilliance up close as a defensive middle guard in a win over the Governors in the regular season.
There will be no Onosai Tanuvasas at Skippa Diaz Stadium on Friday, or any day. Current tailback TJ Paleafei showed some spark in last week’s loss to Leilehua, carrying the ball four times for 54 yards for Farrington’s skeleton crew.
The Governors had a mixed performance against Leilehua quarterback Kalei Akagi, and now they get Punahou’s Hugh Brady. While Akagi mixed in the run 28 times, Brady was all about the pass last week because there was nothing Kailua could do to stop it. Brady threw the ball 25 times against the Surfriders and running backs only got eight carries in the blowout.
Going back to last year, the Buffanblu have had 100-yard receiving games in their last three contests, with Rayden Kiaaina-Caires joining Tamatoa Falatea and Koa Eldredge during the stretch run last year.
In Ane’s four games against Farrington as a head coach, the Buffanblu have never failed to score at least 35 points. Punahou leads the series 28-13-3.
>> No. 6 Kamehameha at No. 5 Kahuku, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Kahuku will have new bleachers just in time for Kamehameha’s first visit to Carleton E. Weimer field in more than a half century.
The Warriors were supposed to visit the North Shore last year, but the game was moved to Aloha Stadium. As of Wednesday, the trip is on this year. Kamehameha hasn’t visited Kahuku since Aug. 30, 1968, when the Warriors beat the Red Raiders behind quarterback Milton Holt.
Kamehameha hasn’t beaten Kahuku anywhere since 2009 — the last five meetings have happened at Aloha Stadium. Kahuku has won the last two in the series, in 2011 and again last year.
That gives the perennial power Red Raiders a decided advantage. They haven’t opened a season with a loss since 2013 when Saint Louis beat them 45-24 at Aloha Stadium and haven’t lost an opener at home since Hugh Yoshida‘s Leilehua squad came away from the trip with a 25-14 win to open the 1979 campaign.
The new Open Division has made Kamehameha’s road Warriors a little less daunting. Before last year, Kamehameha had compiled eight road wins in a row (not counting visiting games at Aloha Stadium). Last year they lost at Campbell and at Mililani to snap that streak.
If the Warriors want to get off to their customary strong start, it is probably going to have to begin at Kahuku. Kamehameha has Punahou next week, followed by Fagaitua of Samoa with Saint Louis and then Mililani to follow in early September. Kamehameha has not had a losing record after August since 2011 and has been unbeaten in the month four times since then.
Kahuku, on the other hand, is 22-2 in August over that span and has won 16 in a row. The Red Raiders haven’t lost in August since visiting East High in Utah in 2013.