Cham­pi­onship On Tro­jan Minds As Spring Game Ar­rives

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

Mililani head coach Rod York’s first pri­or­ity for the 2013 sea­son was mak­ing sure that his re­turnees had placed 2012 firmly in the rear-view mir­ror.

Not that it wasn’t one to re­mem­ber. In­deed, a 10-3 football sea­son and an­other trip to the Di­vi­sion I state tour­na­ment con­tin­ued the pro­gram’s up­ward mo­bil­ity, but the Tro­jans are still eye­ing big­ger goals.

“We want to be in that cham­pi­onship game and win it,” said York, who is en­ter­ing his fourth year as head coach.

“We have a lot of ques­tions to an­swer, which is usu­ally the way it is in spring ball, but th­ese kids un­der­stand that it’s a new team and a new year, and they’re de­ter­mined to make their own mark.”

Much of the talk at Mililani this spring is on the of­fen­sive side of the ball, where six starters com­pleted their el­i­gi­bil­ity from last year’s team, in­clud­ing quar­ter­back Jarin Morikawa, who threw for 3,500 yards and 37 touch­downs. The Tro­jans av­er­aged 32.9 points per game through 13 games last year with Morikawa at the con­trols.

As Thurs­day’s an­nual Mililani spring game ap­proaches, ju­nior McKen­zie Mil­ton and Saint Louis­trans­fer Robert Faleafine are vy­ing to be the starter.

“Both are do­ing a great job right now, and both will play this year,” York said. “It’s a whole new of­fense for Robert, so we’ve been get­ting him as many reps as pos­si­ble. He’s been with us since the win­ter.

“McKen­zie’s at­ti­tude is his best at­tribute,” York added. “And that guy’s a play-maker. He’s mo­bile — he can run — and he can throw the ball, too.”

How well the re­built line can progress will go a long way in de­ter­min­ing of­fen­sive suc­cess as three starters de­parted. York is ex­cited about his sta­ble of run­ning backs, which in­cludes Day­ton Fu­ruta (4.2 yards per carry; 15 touch­downs in 2012), Cheyne Con­stantino, Pakelo Lee and Saint Louis- trans­fer Vae Male­peai.

“It’s nice to have four good run­ning backs, and our re­ceivers com­ing up from the JV team are fill­ing in nice.”

On the de­fen­sive side, the Tro­jans are more re­turnee-heavy with seven starters back in the fold from a unit that gave up just 106 yards per game on the ground.

In the trenches, York will be count­ing on vet­er­ans Rex Manu, KK Padello and Tam­a­toa Silva to set the tone for the de­fense. Al­though just a ju­nior, Manu al­ready is be­ing re­cruited by Pac-10 schools. “De­fense will be our key once again,” he said.

Else­where on the de­fense, Ja­cob Afele will an­chor the line­backer corps along with Fu­ruta, while York en­vi­sions Ian Namu, Lewis Ratl­eff and Jaren Zad­low hold­ing down spots in the sec­ondary.

This Thurs­day’s spring game, which be­gins at 7 p.m. at Tro­jan sta­dium, will con­clude spring drills. In the com­ing weeks, the team will take part in sum­mer conditioning and 7on-7 pass-league games un­til of­fi­cial start of fall camp dur­ing the last week of July.

As in past years, York liked the ap­proach his kids took dur­ing their off-sea­son work­outs. “We’ve nor­mally had good off-sea­sons, and this group bought into what we’re do­ing and we had more guys com­ing out. We’re just reload­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.