The Mililani Trojans are unbeaten in OIA Open Division play, and Dillon Gabriel would be perfectly fine if he hadn’t broken a record along the way.
Gabriel is the new all-time career passing yards leader after a 362-yard, five-TD performance against Waianae. His game-day routine is basic and rich with family time.
On a warm Saturday morning, the routine of game day begins. Gabriel wakes up around 7 a.m. He goes to church before breakfast. Mom (Dori) makes a spinach and bacon omelette. Then he’ll stretch out and throw a football with his dad.
“We’ll soft toss and talk about the game for about an hour,” Dillon said. “We’ll stop throwing and talk about what I should be looking for. Just quarterback stuff, going over reads. It’s just really basic stuff, try to get loose before the game.”
Dad is Garrett Gabriel, a household name in the islands as a Hawaii quarterback, not long after sparking Pac-Five to an Oahu Prep Bowl win.
He played in a run-and-shoot offense at Pac-Five. It was a system not entirely different from what the Wolfpack run today. Then he operated in the spread option at Hawaii with Paul Johnson as the offensive coordinator.
If anyone has lived and seen the evolution of offense in football, it would be… both father and son. Dillon Gabriel has learned extensively from his dad, but the pace at which football offensive play continues to evolve is warp speed compared to a generation ago.
In Mililani’s offense, Gabriel was already equipped to handle the basic mechanical aspects of the read-pass option (RPO). It was a matter of reps on the field as an eighth grader with Mill Vill that harnessed his physical ability and polished his timing.
By freshman year, Gabriel was pressed into varsity action when starter McKenzie Milton suffered a shoulder injury. Milton has gone on to higher heights at Central Florida, a candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
Gabriel has manned the controls for Mililani as Coach Rod York implements new ideas and wrinkles each season.
“In ninth grade, I wish he hadn’t gotten hurt,” York said of Gabriel, whose season ended prematurely with a shoulder injury of his own. “I had full confidence in him. He could throw all the throws. The speed-out and the most difficult, over the middle ‘backers and under the safeties. If you can make those two throws, you can make any throw. You’re one hell of a quarterback.”
There are four regular-season games remaining, and a chance at many more in the post-season. There are other individual records in reach.
>> Completions. Gabriel has 619 for his career. Ahead of him are Tai-John Mizutani of ‘Iolani with 660 and Andrew Manley of Leilehua (640).
>> Attempts. With 1,057 passes, Gabriel is only behind Mizutani (1,135) and Manley (1,077).
>> TD passes. Gabriel is at 92, trailing only Chang (113).
Even with all his aerial work, interceptions is not another record Gabriel is threatening to break. Of the top 16 passers in career yardage, all but six have more picks thrown than Gabriel.
The Trojan QB chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Saturday morning, before breaking the passing yardage record.
He was also featured in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today, which you can read by clicking here. See his interview, the follow-up chat to his Q&A, on video below.
Name: Dillon Gabriel
School sport: Football
Q&A / Favorites
Athlete: Lebron James
Team: Los Angeles Rams
Food (at home): Any kind of pasta
Food (eating out): CPK Pizza
Hobby outside of sports: Relaxing, Going to the Golfing Range
Movie: The Notebook
TV show: ESPN
Video game: Madden
Music artist: Lil Skies
Teacher (elementary through high school): Mr Wagner, Ms Dixon, Senora HB, Mr Monette
Place to relax: Bedroom
Motto/scripture: Luke 10:27
What your dad (name) says that you can’t forget: Pick up your feet
How does your sport affect your daily life during the season and offseason? : It doesn’t affect my life at all. Been doing this since I was very young so the routine is something I am used to.
What middle and elementary schools did you attend? Elementary- Holy Family Catholic Academy, Middle School- Punahou
What youth teams did you play for? What club do you play for and what are the daily commitments like year-round? Pearl City Chargers, Manoa Paniolos
Where have you travelled for your sport(s)? California, Oregon, Florida, New York, Boise, Las Vegas
What is the history and background of your name? I was named after Corey Dillon. The running back from the Patriots.