Count Jalen Tuivaiave-Olomua among those who didn’t know he’d play an expanded role in the Mililani offense Friday night.
Tuivaiave-Olomua led the Trojans ground game with 649 yards and 12 touchdowns while helping lead the defense as a two-way standout last season. But with the emergence of Kilifi Malepeai (347 yards, eight TDs) this season, Tuivaiave-Olomua entered Friday’s game with 97 yards on just 16 carries as a senior while devoting more of his focus to leading the defense from his linebacker spot.
But by the time halftime rolled around in Mililani’s OIA Division I semifinal matchup with Waianae, he had 72 yards on eight carries with three touchdowns to help ignite a 42-6 rout of the Seariders in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader at Aloha Stadium.
“Honestly I didn’t know,” Tuivaiave-Olomua said of his workload on offense. “I was just going with whatever coach says. If he needed me in, then I’ll go in and do my best for the team and not myself.”
The third-ranked Trojans (10-0) next face two-time defending OIA Division I champion and second-ranked Kahuku (9-1) — a 42-7 winner over Campbell in Friday’s first game — in the league title game on Nov. 4. The Trojans also clinched a berth in the state tournament’s open division.
“Coach told us this is our championship week and that’s how we treated it,” Tuivaiave-Olomua said.
Mililani’s 36-33 loss to Waianae in last year’s OIA quarterfinals eliminated the Trojans from the open division and they haven’t tasted defeat since. After sweeping through last year’s D-I state tournament, Mililani averaged 42 points per game to reach the OIA title game and secure one of the league’s three open division berths.
“It means everything,” Tuivaiave-Olomua said. “We worked so hard throughout the offseason. It’s just the bond that we have as a team. It’s unbreakable.”
Some 370 days since the loss to Waianae, Tuivaiave-Olomua capped Mililani’s opening drive on Friday with a 2-yard plunge and powered through the Waianae defense on a 15-yard scoring burst.
His thought as he bulled through one would-be tackler after another: “Don’t fall. Don’t fumble, don’t fall.”
The Mililani line cleared the way for a 28-yard run that pushed the lead to 28-0. He was stopped short on an attempt for a fourth score just before the break. But on fourth-and-goal at the 1, the Seariders again keyed on him, allowing quarterback Dillon Gabriel a walk-in keeper to send Mililani into halftime with a 35-point lead.
The Trojans cruised to the win and set up a meeting with Kahuku on Nov. 4. It’s the first meeting between the programs since the Red Raiders 20-7 win in the 2015 OIA title game. The much anticipated matchup will have extra significance for Tuivaiave-Olomua, who transferred from Kahuku to Mililani as a sophomore.
“We’re excited,” he said. “We’re on the big stage now.”