No. 4 Mililani spoils No. 2 Kahuku's homecoming
KAHUKU — One week ago, Dillon Gabriel and the Mililani football team broke the state's all-time career passing yards record. On Saturday night, the fourth-ranked Trojans executed at a high level to end No. 2 Kahuku's 49-game winning streak at home. Visiting Mililani spoiled the Red Raiders' homecoming and handed Kahuku its first loss at home since 2007 with a commanding 38-10 OIA Open Division win before a standing-room only crowd at Carleton E. Weimer Field. Gabriel completed 30 of 47 passes for 309 yards and two scores to help the Trojans improve to 6-2 overall and 4-0 atop the league standings. The senior quarterback did not throw an interception and was never sacked in the contest.
"We knew that the person we needed to stop was Dillon. He entered the game in a white jersey and he left in a white jersey," said Kahuku first-year coach Sterling Carvalho. "He's savvy, he gets the ball out, he knows his reads and he executed it well." But Gabriel didn't do it all on his own against the Red Raiders (4-2 overall, 1-1 OIA Open). Bruising back Kilifi Malepeai ran in three scores in the red zone and Mililani's receivers made a handful of spectacular grabs in traffic to either extend drives or put up points.
"That guy works day in and day out, I can’t say enough, I love that guy,” Gabriel said of Malepeai. On his receivers, Gabriel said: “they came up big. We always talk about big games, coming out and playing and not just coming out and going through the motions. You got to come out and make plays, and that’s what good teams do.” The Trojans’ defense also performed at an elite level with 10 tackles for loss, which included two sacks. Mykah Tuiolemotu added a fumble recovery that was returned 77 yards into the red zone and McKenna Alcover chipped in an interception on Kahuku QB Robbie Sauvao. “Their defense, they came, they played well, they played fast. Tonight they got the best of us,” said Carvalho. After coming up short on their first drive of the game, the Trojans quickly got the ball back after holding Kahuku to a three-and-out. Mililani then marched 65 yards on eight plays and scored on Malepeai’s 5-yard TD run to go up 7-0 with 7:07 to play in the first quarter. On the play before the score, Maka Hill hauled in a 12-yard catch with Alex Fonoimoana-Vaomu draped all over him to convert a third-and-11 situation. Another three-and-out set up Mililani’s next TD. With the ball on the Kahuku 48, the Trojans just needed two plays to reach the end zone. Malepeai turned a screen pass into a 22-yard gain and Hill pulled in a 26-yard score to make it a 14-0 game with under two minutes to play in the first stanza. Like its first two scoring drives, a three-and-out by the defense turned into points by the offense. Kahuku’s defense held them out of the end zone however, but not before Liam McGehee booted a 47-yard field goal to make it a 17-0 game with 9:23 remaining before halftime.
A 25-yard field goal by Duke Heffernan on the final play of the second quarter kept Kahuku in the game, but that wouldn’t be enough to overcome a Mililani team that was clicking on all cylinders. Ryan Chang hauled in a 12-yard TD pass from Gabriel on the Trojans’ first drive of the second half to push Mililani’s lead back to three scores, 24-3.
The Red Raiders finally found the end zone after Sauvao scampered for a 55-yard score on the next play from scrimmage, but had little to no success the rest of the way. Two scoring runs by Malepeai in the fourth quarter sealed the deal for Mililani, who earned its first win over the Red Raiders since 2014. “The kids executed and they brought their A-game,” said Mililani coach Rod York. “That’s what it took to come into Kahuku and get the win.”