SPRING-ing into football season: Mililani Trojans

Freshman Dillon Gabriel was called up from the junior varsity team to play when senior star McKenzie Milton was injured last season. Gabriel also suffered an injury in a varsity game, but he returns to the team as a sophomore this fall. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Freshman Dillon Gabriel was called up from the junior varsity team to play when senior star McKenzie Milton was injured last season. Gabriel also suffered an injury in a varsity game, but he returns to the team as a sophomore this fall. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

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>> 2015 record and finish: 10-3 (7-0 OIA Blue); won the OIA Blue championship; defeated Moanalua 48-13 in first round of the OIA D-I playoffs; defeated Waianae 45-20 in the OIA D-I quarterfinals; lost 20-7 to Kahuku in the OIA D-I championship game; defeated Hilo 62-18 in the first round of the D-I state tournament; lost 56-30 to Saint Louis in the D-I state semifinals
>> Number of returning starters: 7 (offense 3, defense 4)
>> Number of returning seniors: 17
>> Number of starters lost to graduation: 14
>> Number of seniors lost to graduation: 28
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections lost to graduation: Andru Tovi (first-team OL), Kalakaua Timoteo (first-team REC), Vavae Malepeai (first-team RB), McKenzie Milton (second-team QB), Kaimana Padello (second-team DE)
>> Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State selections returning: None
>> OIA Blue All-Stars lost to graduation: McKenzie Milton (first-team QB), Vavae Malepeai (first-team RB), Kalakaua Timoteo (first-team WR), Andru Tovi (first-team OL), Kaimana Padello (first-team DL), M.J. Tanuvasa (first-team LB), Elias Pritchard (second-team DL), Ramsey Tacadena (second-team DB)
>> OIA Blue All-Stars returning: Noah Williams (second-team OL), Tielu Mamea (second-team DB)
>> Among 2016 key offensive returnees: Scottie Agasiva (OL, Jr.), Noah Williams (OL, Jr.), Dillon Gabriel (QB So.), Andrew Valesderes (WR, Sr.)
>> Among 2016 key defensive returnees: Dustin Gapusan (DB, Sr.), Kainalu Wong (DB, Sr.), Aijalon Kolone-Falaniko (LB, Sr.), Tasi Malepeai (DL, Jr.), Mykah Tuiolemotu (DL, So.), Joshua Banks (DT, Sr.), Jalen Olomua (LB, Jr.)
>> Trojans with Division I FBS college offers: None
>> All-time state championships: 1 (2014, D-I)
>> All-time Prep Bowl (1973-1998) championships: None
>> All-time OIA championships: 3 (all D-I — 2010, 2013, 2014)
>> 2016 conference: OIA Red (D-I)

Head coach ROD YORK on the Trojans’ outlook for 2016:

“Our offseason has been going great. We are demanding on our kids as far as time and commitment to hard work. We teach our kids to be accountable to the team through attendance and effort. Our offseason is what sets it all up for us and we take great pride in it.

“Since Feb. 1, if you are not in an OIA sport, then you need to be in our offseason program that we developed. We promote and support our other OIA sanctioned sports and encourage our football student-athletes to be multi-sport athletes. We feel high school is the time to join as many sports as possible, so they can be well-rounded and exposed to sports other than football. Dayton Furuta is a great example of someone who excelled at judo, wrestling, basketball, track, and football. Also, grade checks are required in an OIA sport, so we know they are monitored to some degree. All track and field student-athletes are only asked to lift weights with our football team, but nothing else. We start at 6 p.m. four days a week in the weight room to get out of the way of the sport in season because of its small size, but still maintain our own standards. Grade checks are mandatory every week from February until the last game we play. Speed, agility, and plyometric work are done afterwards.

“My bro, (defensive line coach) Silila Malepeai, is a big help and brains of our program.

“Our entire coaching staff is year-round. We are proud to say that we have our entire coaching staff out with the team since February through our last game we play. We are demanding on our coaches because that’s what it takes to build a great program. Our staff includes a wide spectrum of people who bring different strengths and ideas to the table. I listen and hear all, although they may not think so. Our coaches grade out all players and their attention to detail is what makes our program special. We do have a big staff, so as much as possible we have a coach for every position as we all have demanding time for our own families and other commitments. One of our mottos in our program for players and coaches is to be a ‘Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday guy.’ Anyone can show up ready on game day, but only the elite can be a true, deserving Trojan. Earn your right to be on this team. That goes for every coach, player and manager. We all must put in work, so that we do it all together. We preach Mililani ‘one team,’ but our kids and parents have added ‘one family.’ So when we say Mililani ‘one team, one family,’ we truly mean it because we live it.

“Because there was no team in Mililani in the big boys league, we created Mill Vill football. Lii Furuta and husband Dayne Furuta and family have created 4U, 6U, 8U and 10U flag football teams. We also have our 7th and 8th grade football, which runs exactly what we do on our JV and varsity programs. We are the only youth program that has a relationship with (Mililani) middle school, as we do grade checks with our kids and have sat kids out if needed. We enter the best youth league, Junior Prep Sports, which is run by Robert Faleafine. The league is so great that we have tried to tie it in with the high school sports as it should be because they are the kids entering our high school programs. Robert Faleafine’s vision is to have a team in every community. We are trying to get every varsity head coach to buy in and be more visible with the youth. We believe in it so much that I go there and coach our kids. We train our coaching staff in Mill Vill. Currently, the high school referees through (Hawaii High School Athletic Association officials coordinator) Matt Sumstine have been training their guys in the JPS program, which included about 100 referees in their last clinic. It’s all positive all the way around.

“My job as head coach is to surround our kids with great people. Our Mililani faculty has been tremendous. The teachers always go the extra mile with tutoring not only for all kids, but our football student-athletes. Our administration and security have been awesome as we work closely to monitor and hold our kids accountable. We have five coaches, including myself, who teach and work on campus and the boys have many “aunties and uncles” who are right on top of them. Our Mililani High School counselors are top ranked and they keep parents and myself up to date with our kids’ progress. They know more about our kids than the coaches do. Mililani counselors are a powerful team, which we utilize much. We also keep a strong, positive parent relationship through Lii Furuta and company. Mililani parents have been extremely supportive and provide strong support needed for our team. It takes a village to raise a child and our strength is our Mililani Trojan Village.

“Our philosophy is simple. No one wants to work with a lazy, punk, spoiled-brat kid. No one wants to deal with an egotistical, cocky head football coach either. Because you score touchdowns or acquire many accolades, that don’t make you special. Being special is simply being a great person, especially when only God is looking. We model our program after the most humble superstar that our kids see every day, the Mililani Trojans’ own Maa Tanuvasa. Ma’a could have retired 10 years ago sipping a Mai Tai on the beach, if he wanted to. But he chose to give back and he does by being a security guard and monitoring our kids at his alma mater, Mililani High. Everyone knows about his Super Bowl rings, but not many know or take the time to ask him about the grind and all the teams he was cut from and injuries endured to be in the position to go earn those rings. In the Mililani complex, we promote six pillars of character: responsibility, citizenship, trustworthiness, respect, caring, and fairness. We have summed all in one: attitude. We believe your attitude will define you and who you are, especially when only God is looking. Our number one motto is to be ‘humble and hungry.’

“If our kids and coaches work hard and believe in what we do, we will be happy with the end result. If our kids and coaches pay attention to detail, then we will be successful. We don’t talk about winning championships, but we do talk about having a winning attitude. We preach: 1. Attitude; 2. Do your job; and 3. Execution. Keep it simple, so we can fly. All the X’s and O’s don’t go until our kids buy into our three main points. We look very promising because our kids are following our Mililani motto. Results have shown what our program can do, but this 2016 team hasn’t done anything yet. We are proud of our team and we look forward to the 2016 challenge.

“The power of our program is that all of the people who are hands-on with our football student-athletes are humble and embrace their roles. They are truly for the kids and check their egos at the door. It’s important to know that much of what I speak about comes from many people, not me. It truly is a team effort.”

2016 Mililani football schedule
Check here for the latest schedule updates: http://bit.ly/2958rWe
>> July 28: Waipahu (scrimmage only)
>> July 29: at Kahuku (scrimmage only)
>> July 30: Kamehameha (scrimmage only)
>> Aug. 6: Saint Louis
>> Aug. 13: Kaiser
>> Aug. 20: Castle
>> Aug. 27: Farrington
>> Sept. 3: Kapolei
>> Sept. 9: at Nanakuli
>> Sept. 16/17: Bye
>> Sept. 23: at Kailua
>> Sept. 30: at Leilehua

2016 Mililani varsity football staff
>> Head coach and special teams: Rod York (57-16, seventh season)
>> Wide receivers: Moe Tauilo
>> Wide receivers: Rusty Alama
>> Slotbacks: Tito Sallas
>> Quarterbacks: Garrett Gabriel
>> Running backs: Jeff Cadiz
>> Offensive line: Pat Mauga
>> Offensive line: Hideki Aoki
>> Defensive line: Silila Malepeai
>> Defensive line: Tim Dunn
>> Linebackers and special teams: Maa Tanuvasa
>> Linebackers: Kendall Purcell
>> Defensive backs: John Kupau
>> Defensive backs: Mike Lundy
>> Defensive coordinator: Roland Mason
>> Video coordinator: Jason Favela
>> Director of player personnel: Josh Watase
>> Special teams: Lynn York
>> Parent program coordinator: Lii Furuta


  1. rrforlifebaby June 22, 2016 3:23 pm

    Pretty cool how they “created” a system in Mililani.
    But, I’m predicting at least 4 losses this year.; sorry trojan fans.

  2. Mahatma Gandhi June 22, 2016 4:05 pm

    18 coaches? They all on the payroll? Farrington coach said his coaches not getting paid enough. Why not reduce that coaching staff to 6, then triple the pay for those 6 coaches? Only had 5 coaches when I played in the 1970s.

  3. red x June 22, 2016 4:51 pm

    I like the way coach York coaches. He not only coach the players but the assistant coaches too. That’s why mililani will always be there to challenge the elite teams.

  4. Outlaw Jose-y June 22, 2016 7:01 pm

    I thought OIA coaches weren’t allowed to coach in outside leagues, like Mill Vill. I think the OIA Head, Ray Fujino should investigate. I think it is unfair to other programs, who follow the rules.

  5. Alpha June 22, 2016 9:06 pm

    @Outlaw jose-y……. you should do your own investigation before commenting. Pretty much majority of the oia is involved with outside leauges. And not just football!!!

  6. bumbuchas June 23, 2016 12:33 am

    OIA HC’s are NOT allowed to be involved in any youth FB leagues and specially; Big Boys/Jr Prep. Ass’t Coaches can participate, thus ala Campbell, Aiea, Kaiser , Jr Prep Teams.

  7. Ackrite June 23, 2016 12:37 am

    Mililani looks like a quality team! Man a lot of good and very young talented QBs seem to be popping up lately… Dillion Gabriel kid only going to be a Soph. and he is a stud! Nice to see the 808 state of QB play stepping up BIG TIME!!!

  8. Hahashandah June 23, 2016 12:37 am

    Was a good run Mililani… Now time to look for the next Timoteo and Malepeai. This Soph QB was pretty good but nobody has moves like a healthy Milton. I predict a drop off this year for Mililani, Kapolei will be doing well this year I think they will give them a run for their money. Good luck to all. Big Red to repeat (possibly through the air this time around).

  9. 88 June 23, 2016 5:26 pm

    All you 50yr old Al Bundys……….get a room! LOL

  10. RedHawks June 23, 2016 6:46 pm

    I really like what coach York and his staff is doing. Only good things will come from that program. Keep up the good work! Good luck to all on the up coming season! Alofa Atu. RRFL

  11. 88 June 26, 2016 9:35 am

    All you 50yr old RR4L Al bundys, get a room! LOL

  12. Hman! June 28, 2016 10:10 pm

    88 why you gotta go there? If it wasn’t for us the foundation wouldn’t be solid! Lmao. You only a few years behind us AL bundys…..Hman!

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