Mules, Tro­jans and Bull­dogs All Hope­ful For Post-sea­son Play

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Central Oahu Highlights - By JACK DANILEWICZ

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.

Leile­hua

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.

Mililani

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, nwalker@mid­week.com.

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