OIA RED WEST
Trojans find win at the bottom of swamp at Leilehua
Brown is the most prominent color on the Mililani Trojans' uniforms and they got a lot more of that dark color on them last night in the mud and driving rain at Leilehua's Hugh Yoshida Stadium.
But it was the visiting Trojans who left the Mules with mud in the eye and took the short bus ride back to Mililani with a 7-0 Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West football victory.
Two weeks ago, the Mules played Aiea in a similar bog, but last night's conditions were worse.
"The field was just terrible," said Mililani coach James Millwood, whose team improved to 6-1 overall and 5-0 in the conference. "We couldn't throw. They couldn't throw. Nobody could really get a grip on the ball."
Leilehua (3-4, 2-3), which somehow found a way to pass in the soggy conditions against Aiea, struggled through the air last night.
"It was more of a slick field (last night)," Mules coach Nolan Tokuda said.
"The mud was on the ball and on everybody's jerseys. It affected our offense more than Mililani's because we're a passing team and they like to run more."
Leilehua almost escaped with a scoreless first half, but made a crucial mistake that led to Mililani's only touchdown with 15 seconds to go before the intermission.
The Mules had a fourth and 12 at their own 16 when a punt snap went awry.
"Our center couldn't get the snap off because it got stuck in the mud before he snapped it," Tokuda said. "Then, it got stuck in the mud after he snapped it and from there the ball just didn't bounce our way."
Instead, a pile of players pounced on the ball and it popped up into the arms of the Trojans' Thomas Craig in the end zone.
"That was a total team play," Craig said. "We all rushed to the ball, and people kept trying to get it and kept losing it. It came up and I grabbed it. It felt awesome."
Millwood knew Leilehua's fourth-down situation had potential in the bad conditions.
"I called a timeout (with 23 seconds left in the half) and we called the 'house,' which is when we bring everybody. It's all (assistant coach and former NFL player) Ma'a Tanuvasa's stuff. He handles all our special teams."
Leilehua quarterback Guy Cantrell, who is subbing for the injured Bryant Moniz, rushed for 70 yards in the slop.
"We weren't focused on the ball and we weren't focused on the game. Everybody wanted to be the star," Cantrell said. "We were going to try to throw more screens, but we had to call them off because of Mililani's defensive alignments. We were fortunate our defense kept us in the game."
Tokuda said his team has already clinched an OIA playoff spot.
"We could (have a losing record) and still be the most dangerous team in the playoffs," he said.
"Do you see the way our defense is playing? They can stop anybody. All we needed is to get it into the end zone one time, and if it wasn't for that one play, a special teams mistake. It was the same thing against Aiea (a 14-13 loss) when we had a missed extra point."
The Mililani offense had the ball in Leilehua territory six times, but couldn't score. The Mules' deepest offensive penetration was the Trojans' 34 in the second quarter.
Millwood was glad his team was able to escape with another close conference victory, like it did against Waianae and Kapolei.
"We've got one more (conference game) to get it done, and then we can move on and get ready for the playoffs," he said.
Radford 33, Kalaheo 7
The Rams held the Mustangs to just 80 yards and three scoreless quarters to clinch a berth into the OIA White Division playoffs.
Tied at 7 after the first quarter, Kalaheo went scoreless the rest of the game.
The Radford defense came up with an interception reutrn and a fumble recovery for touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Burciaga threw for 129 yards in the win.
Matthew Soueira rushed 15 times for 105 yards in the loss.