Training Together Boosts Trojan Power Team To The Top
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, email@example.com.