In 41 years and well over 300 games with the likes of Kalakaua Timoteo, Kainoa Wilson, Hassan Richardson, Taz Stevenson and Kris Andrews all taking their best shots, 200 receiving yards in a single game had never been accomplished at Mililani.
Timoteo came close, posting three games with at least 190 receiving yards, but even the fifth-most prolific pass catcher in state history couldn’t crack the big 200.
Friday night at War Memorial Stadium, Trojans senior Andrew Valladares, who three weeks ago in a 36-33 loss to Waianae set the school’s single-game record with 215 receiving yards, duplicated the feat touching the ball only five times. Four of Valladares’ five receptions went for touchdowns and he finished with 213 receiving yards in Mililani’s 49-28 win over No. 4 seed Baldwin in the first round of the Division I First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Football Championships.
Sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel had his third consecutive 300-yard passing game thanks in large part to Valladares, who not only torched the Bears for big plays, but allowed the Trojans to come back from a 28-14 deficit with 35 unanswered points to reach seven wins for a fifth consecutive season under head coach Rod York.
Valladares scored three touchdowns in a row to turn a 28-21 deficit into a 42-21 lead.
“We had two weeks to prepare and knew if we executed and did our job everything would fall into place,” Valladares said. “We weren’t ready to go home. We wanted to get that ‘W’ and make our community proud.”
Gabriel said it was a wheel route that gave Baldwin fits covering Valladares, who is averaging 143 receiving yards over his last five games. Valladares wasn’t sure what exact route it was in particular, but was focused on getting right whichever play was called.
“I just ran the route called to the best of my ability,” said Valladares, who is 6-foot and 180 pounds. “It starts with the O-line and with that comes my quarterback, Dillon Gabriel, and then when it all falls into place is when us running backs and receivers are executing and doing our job.”
“It was the wheel,” added Gabriel. “Coach made the adjustment in the second half when he saw the corner was fighting the post so we kept running it.”
Mililani is averaging 49.3 points in its last four games and will play Leilehua for the third time in 44 days in the semifinals next week. The Trojans beat the Mules 52-35 and 63-42 in the previous two meetings.
Gabriel has thrown 13 touchdowns in his last three games with nine going to Valladares, who is now fifth in the state in receiving yards.
“We throw pretty much seven days a week and (Andrew) and I have a connection,” Gabriel said. “He’s definitely stepped up this second half of the season. He’s a workhorse and he’s catching every ball thrown to him.”
With 200 yards in the bag twice already, could 300 be a possibility? Valladares had a 90-yard touchdown reception called back because of a penalty that would have made him the seventh player ever with a 300-yard receiving game and second (Desmond Hanohano, Saint Louis, 2003) in the state tournament.