Train­ing To­gether Boosts Tro­jan Power Team To The Top

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

When Trent McKin­ney steps into the Mililani hud­dle and says the seem­ingly magic words “45 Peter,” Has­san Richardson can feel his in­ter­nal mo­tor move into the next gear.

“Most of the time, I know it’s com­ing to me,” Richardson said of the play, which re­quires him to run a deep post route. “Most of my suc­cess has come on the post routes. That’s prob­a­bly it (fa­vorite play). I like hitches, too.”

On a team stocked with play­mak­ers, he is one of its most re­li­able threats. At 6foot-4 he can win any bat­tle for the ball, and he has the hands, speed and ath­leti­cism to turn a short gain into a game-chang­ing ad­ven­ture. He and McKin­ney have col­lab­o­rated 30 times on the year for 480 yards, an av­er­age of 16.0 yards per re­cep­tion, and six scores.

The pair worked out to­gether in the off-sea­son, and they’re see­ing their co­he­sive­ness pay off as Mililani be­gins what it hopes will be a long play­off run. (The Tro­jans were to meet Far­ring­ton over the week­end in an OIA Red Con­fer­ence quar­ter­fi­nal.)

“All dur­ing the off-sea­son, we’d go to the YMCA Park or the (Mililani) District Park and just throw to get our tim­ing down. As a quar­ter­back, he needs me, and I need him. If we keep our con­nec­tion, we’ll be all right.”

McKin­ney is hav­ing a mon­ster of a se­nior year in his own right. En­ter­ing last week­end, he had Mililani ranked sec­ond in the state in to­tal of­fense be­hind Saint Louis, which is coached, iron­i­cally, by for­mer Tro­jan head coach Dar­nell Arce­neaux. The Tro­jans are av­er­ag­ing 410 yards a game and have tal­lied 41 touch­downs.

“Trent’s a real threat — he can throw and run,” Richardson said. “Since he can run, he gets me open with his scram­bling. He can get me the ball, and I can make a play. We have a lot of weapons. Teams dou­bleteam me a lot, and that leaves one-on-one cov­er­age for some­one else. Our other re­ceivers are all good enough to beat them.”

In ad­di­tion to Richardson, the Tro­jan pass-catch­ing corps also fea­tures Bryson Calma, Nainoa Pi­hana and Colby Lum. Run­ning back Zach Pay­omo also is en­joy­ing an All-Con­fer­ence-type year, hav­ing al­ready gone over the 1,000-yard mark prior to last week­end.

The Tro­jans’ team unity has been a ral­ly­ing point since the end of last sea­son, ac­cord­ing to Richardson. “We’re like broth­ers out there on the foot­ball field. It all starts with prac­tice and be­ing around each other. We hang out and get to know each other more af­ter foot­ball. This school has never re­ally won a cham­pi­onship in foot­ball, so we want to make his­tory this year.”

Among Mililani’s prepa­ra­tions week-to-week is a lot of film study — of their own play as well as film on that week’s op­po­nent.

“Es­pe­cially in the play­offs,” he said. “We’ll be look­ing at film to­day. I love watch­ing film to make sure we do ev­ery­thing cor­rectly in a game.”

While foot­ball re­mains his fo­cus, Richardson also is a Di­vi­sion I prospect in bas­ket­ball and is be­ing re­cruited in both sports by UNLV. Also in the mix is San Diego State, which is re­cruit­ing him for foot­ball.

He plans to visit both schools be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion.

“I’ll go to the school that gives me the best of­fer,” he said.

Richardson has been bal­anc­ing bas­ket­ball and foot­ball since the fifth grade. His fa­ther, Lin­wood, was a three­sport ath­lete in Vir­ginia and re­mains his great­est sup­porter.

“It’s all ge­net­ics from my dad,” he said. “He’s al­ways been a big fan of bas­ket­ball and foot­ball, and that made me want to play both sports. I’ve done well with his sup­port.”

Has­san Richardson tries to get past Shane Tan­abe for a touch­down dur­ing a Tro­jan prac­tice. Photo by Lawrence Tabudlo, ltabudlo@midweek.com.

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