Save, Tuiolemotu returned leaner, faster for Trojans

Mililani defensive lineman Ezra Save (94), right, and defensive lineman Mykah Tuiolemotu (7) worked to bring down Kahuku running back Wes Alo-Maiava (13) during the first half of a regular-season game. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

The hunger of Mililani senior Mykah Tuiolemotu is real.

Since dropping to a lean, mean 215 pounds, he has leveled off at 225 during the season. His partner in the trenches, Ezra Save, dropped 50 pounds. The work has paid off. Both are defensive tackles who have more energy and endurance during the Trojans’ high-possession, uptempo games.

“Last season, the one reason I tried to slim down was I couldn’t catch the stinking quarterback (Chevan Cordeiro of Saint Louis, now at Hawaii). I got so mad. I could catch him, but only to a certain point and he was just running all on us,” Tuiolemotu said. “Our whole defensive line slimmed down. It’s also stamina, too. That game (in 2017), I had no stamina, I couldn’t even run and I didn’t like the feeling. I kind of feel like I prepared for this very game (on Saturday).”

The work should pay off as the duo will have to chase another fast and talented Crusaders quarterback in junior Jayden de Laura, who has rushed for 291 yards and nine touchdowns in nine games.

Save dropped 50 pounds in the offseason by cutting carbs severely and doing more aerobic training. He is listed at 235. Tuiolemotu kept the same training regimen, but reduced his portions at meal time.

“It cutting back on foods, but also timing. Not trying to eat and sleep right after. That’s the worst thing,” Tuiolemotu said. “Drinking water instead of something sweet. I’ll still eat pizza, but instead of the whole thing, just half. And McDonald’s was a big cut-down. Sophomore year, I’d eat there twice a week after practice. A 20-piece McNuggets meal and a burger. This year, I told them, I’m cutting weight. My dad was the one who said I needed to work on my stamina, but I never thought about of it as cutting my diet until this season. It’s proportion.”

Save went the extra mile. Literally.

“In the offseason I wanted to work more on my finesse moves, swim move, rip move, all these good technique moves. I couldn’t really do it my moves last year, only bull rush. Run plays, it was easy because I was heavy, but I wanted to be a good pass rusher,” Save said. “So we decided we wanted to be the best pass rushers in the state.”

Save did the road work, kept training in the weight room, and cut the carbs.

“My grandpa (Edward Iuna) put me on it. Chicken, fish. In the morning, (only) eggs and oatmeal. I’d keep the protein, but cut the rice and eat more greens, more vegetables,” Save said. “And a lot more cardio. I actually ate a lot more poi and cut out rice, and no sweets.”

That also meant no juice or soda, except on cheat days.

“Yeah, I miss it,” said Save, who has almost the same post-game meal as Saint Louis DT Faatui Tuitele.

“After the game, I’ll go to Zippy’s and get a Korean chicken plate. No macaroni salad. Brown rice,” Save said.


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