Mililani Has Bal­ance It Takes To Win State Foot­ball Ti­tle

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

Will it be a “Novem­ber to Re­mem­ber” for the Mililani foot­ball team? All signs point that way fol­low­ing a riv­et­ing sea­son and equally ex­cit­ing run in the OIA play­offs. Mid­Week’s Cen­tral Oahu Is­lan­der breaks down the Tro­jans as they get ready for the DI state tour­na­ment.

Record: 9-1 over­all at press time, 6-0 in the OIA Red West (reg­u­lar-sea­son cham­pion). Mililani was to meet Far­ring­ton for the OIA ti­tle game last Fri­day.

Sig­na­ture wins: Wa­ianae 44-24 Aug. 30, Camp­bell 42-21 Sept. 21, Leile­hua 21-9 Oct. 19, Kahuku 3722 on Oct. 21.

Sum­ma­tion: Is any­one play­ing bet­ter than Mililani? En­ter­ing last weekend’s OIA ti­tle game against a surg­ing Far­ring­ton team, the Tro­jans have reeled off eight straight wins since an early-sea­son loss to Pu­na­hou.

Tra­di­tion­ally, teams that ad­vance in states suc­ceed when they can run the ball on of­fense and stop the run on de­fense. No team has been bet­ter than Mililani in those ar­eas, as ev­i­denced in their riv­et­ing 37-22 win over de­fend­ing state champ Kahuku in the OIA semi­fi­nals two weeks ago.

Tro­jan de­fense: The de­fense has yielded only 14.3 points per game and has given up just 83 yards per out­ing on the ground. Teams haven’t fared much bet­ter throw­ing on Mililani, which gives up only 135 pass­ing yards a game.

Unit to keep an eye on: The de­fen­sive line of Keli‘i Padello, Blake Kondo, Rex Manu and Tam­a­toa Silva plays fast and phys­i­cal. No group has fig­ured big­ger for any de­fen­sive unit in the state.

Tro­jan of­fense: Mililani’s suc­cess be­gins with a stellar of­fen­sive line, which has al­lowed the team to amass 380 yards per game. The Tro­jans have done it with bal­ance, av­er­ag­ing 190 yards per game on the ground and 189 in the air. Quar­ter­backs McKen­zie Mil­ton and Robert Faleafine have been solid de­ci­sion-mak­ers with a com­bined touch­down-to-in­ter­cep­tion ra­tio of 18-6. That kind of ef­fi­ciency will need to con­tinue in or­der to make a state tour­na­ment run.

Key to suc­cess on of­fense: Play turnover free and con­trol the ball. The only team to stop the of­fense has been the Tro­jans them­selves on oc­ca­sion, be­cause of turnovers.

Unit to keep an eye on: The pass-catch­ing corps of Bron­son Ader, Bron­son Ramos, Ryan Reedy, Kalakaua Ti­mo­teo and Wil­son. With op­pos­ing teams likely to try to load up against the run game, look for this group to have its share of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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