Tro­jans Face Tough Sea­son-open­ing Test Against Pac Five

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

Fri­day night’s home date with In­ter­scholas­tic League of Honolulu foe Pac-Five won’t make or break Mililani’s sea­son, but it should serve as an ap­pro­pri­ate lead-in to the Tro­jans’ Oahu In­ter­scholas­tic As­so­ci­a­tion Red West sea­son.

The Mililani football cal­en­dar shows a key stretch on the im­me­di­ate hori­zon with a game against Wa­ianae at home and road dates with Leile­hua and Camp­bell, which fol­lows closely on the heels of Fri­day’s in­ter- league game with the Wolf­pack.

“The em­pha­sis for us — and we’ve talked about this with the kids — is on the reg­u­lar-sea­son con­fer­ence games,” said Mililani head coach Rod York. “Those are the games that count and will put us in po­si­tion for the (OIA) playoffs. We al­ways want to win ev­ery game, but we want to keep work­ing to get bet­ter ev­ery day so we’re ready for Wa­ianae, Leile­hua and Camp­bell.”

Even so, in Pac-Five, the Tro­jans will face a good chal­lenge for Week One — es­pe­cially the Mililani of­fense, in York’s view.

“Their de­fense has some Division I ( col­lege) prospects, and some of them have started since their sopho­more year,” he said. “The name that jumps out is their de­fen­sive line­man/de­fen­sive end Ti­tus Failauga. I’ve seen him play, and he runs well. They have some big boys up front, and they also have lineback­ers who can run. It will be a big test for us. We have our work cut out for us.”

Mililani put up big num­bers of­fen­sively last sea­son, and quar­ter­back Jarin Morikawa is back for his se­nior sea­son af­ter throw­ing for 2,597 yards and 24 touch­downs last fall.

Whether the Tro­jans can main­tain the pace of 2011 could hinge largely on how well its offensive line comes through this fall. That will also likely be true of Fri­day night’s game with PacFive.

“Our offensive line ver­sus their de­fen­sive line should be a great matchup,” said York. “We feel like our offensive line is very good, and it will be a mat­ter of tak­ing what the de­fense gives us. Our of­fense is ex­plo­sive.”

In a re­cent scrim­mage against de­fend­ing DI State Cham­pion Kahuku, the Tro­jans’ of­fense was slow­start­ing, but warmed up to the task to put to­gether three scor­ing drives against what is largely con­sid­ered the state’s stingi­est de­fense. York liked the Tro­jans’ re­solve as much as their ex­e­cu­tion.

“They didn’t do great in the be­gin­ning, but I liked the way they got on each other and fin­ished out (the scrim­mage),” he said. “The at­ti­tude of our team has been great. I like our team unity. Watch­ing the way we go about things, we look like we’re in mid-sea­son form. Now it’s a mat­ter of get­ting men­tally stronger, ex­e­cut­ing, and hav­ing fun at the same time.

“We’re happy with where we’re at and with where we’re headed,” added York. “We’re ex­cited about the sea­son. Run­ning (and con­di­tion­ing in prac­tice) isn’t fun (for the kids), but the re­ward comes on Fri­day night when the lights go on and their friends and fam­ily are in the stands.”

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