Mules, Trojans and Bulldogs All Hopeful For Post-season Play
For Central Oahu prep teams Leilehua, Mililani and Waialua, the coming weeks will largely determine the football playoff fate of each. A “two-minute drill” for the teams follow as they approach the mid-way point of their respective schedules.
Players to Watch: QB Andrew Manley, LB Kalua Ellis, DL Charlie Tua’au, DL Frazer Taua, DL Zach Asuega Coffin, DL Nate Shuster, DB Kasey Dukes, DB Sly Izumigawa, RB Austin Schmidt, WR Carlos Marshall.
Defensive MVP: Kalua Ellis. With a solid defensive line in front of him, he should be free to do what he does best, which is rack up tackles.
Offensive MVP: Manley. One of the most sought-after recruits in the class of 2010, his experience — not to mention his running and passing — should pay off big-time for the Mules.
What we like: Experience in the defensive line. In Tua’au, Taua, Coffin and Shuster, the Mules return everyone up front from a team that won 11 games in 2008. The arrival of Aieatransfer Chevez Ma’afala is icing on Leilehua’s cake.
Must-see game: Sept. 25 at Waianae. In dropping their league opener to Mililani, the Mules need help in the race, and nothing could help more than a win over Waianae, which handed Leilehua a loss last season and who may be the team to beat in the Red West. Certainly, the Seariders got everyone’s attention with their workmanlike 42-21 win over Kapolei Aug. 22. A loss here for Leilehua would likely eliminate them from contention for the regularseason title.
Upset Alert: Sept. 11 at Kapolei. After playing Radford, Mililani and Saint Louis in successive weeks, the Mules would seem due for a letdown in Week Four. The Hurricanes are always dangerous, especially at home, and figure to come in on the heels of a blow-out win over Nanakuli.
Make plans for the State Tournament if: the Mules defense can stop the run. Both Waianae and Farrington had big games on the ground last year in handing Leilehua two of only three losses on the year. The more stops by the defense, the more chances for quarterback Manley and the Mules’ offense to take advantage of their own weapons.
Players to Watch: QB Trent McKinney, WR Haasan Richardson, WR Kama Paulo, LB Zach Quines, OLB Jarren Pestana, DB Chris Ornellas, DB/ WR Taz Stevenson.
Offensive MVP: McKinney. The Kapolei transfer has acclimated himself nicely to the Trojans’ offense, and his athleticism and decision-making should go a long way toward making Mililani a threat every time it has the ball.
Defensive MVP: Quines. The latest in a long line of solid middle linebackers at the school, his steadying presence is the key to the Trojan defense.
What we like: The defense. Under defensive coordinator Rod York, the Trojans yielded a league-low 12.3 points per contest in their six conference games in 2008 and have picked up where they left off this fall, despite having to rebuild their entire line. Holding Leilehua and Andrew Manley to 18 points was among the best defensive performances of the young season.
Must-see game: Oct. 9 versus Waianae at home. Both teams were impressive in their Red West openers, posting wins over Leilehua and Kapolei, respectively, to get a leg up in the league race. As this game comes in the final week of the regular season, it could decide the league championship, not to mention have a certain effect on the seedings for the OIA playoffs.
Upset Alert: Sept. 5 at Waipahu. Considering the Marauders’ ability to play physical, run the ball and gain an edge in the allimportant statistic, timeof-possession, Waipahu is always a threat, certainly at home. If the Mililani defense comes to play, and forces the
Leilehua High School running back Austin Schmidt has the ball with Mules coach Darrin Matsumiya in pursuit at practice. Nathalie Walker photo, email@example.com.