HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Mules take small step up after beating rival Trojans
Leilehua's descent out of the Star-Bulletin Football Top 10 wasn't going to be permanent.
The Mules, with a nucleus of first-year starters and key returnees, didn't wilt after a 20-0 loss to Saint Louis three weeks ago.
Instead, they went back to work, top to bottom. One of the tweaks Nolan Tokuda and his staff made was on the offensive line.
"The personnel matchups. Saint Louis was a wake-up call. Our quick guards were too small to handle their (defensive tackles), and our tackles couldn't handle their quick (defensive) ends," Tokuda said.
So, the Mules did something novel. They turned their lineup upside-down, or rather, inside-out.
"We moved our quick guards outside to match up with defensive ends," Tokuda said.
The Mules scored 37 points on an athletic Radford defense, and then did a solid job in a 23-14 win over rival Mililani. That gave Leilehua a 2-0 start to Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West play (3-1 overall), as well as a slight bump to No. 7 in today's Top 10 poll after having dropped out a few weeks ago.
The transition for Leilehua's linemen hasn't been easy, of course.
"Now our tackles (who are now guards) have to pull," Tokuda said. "It doesn't matter too much because (running back) Micah (Abreu-Laybon) doesn't need that big of a hole."
Warriors untouched: Kamehameha remained at No. 4 following another defensive duel.
The Warriors' defense kept Redlands East Valley (Calif.) quarterback Ronnie Fouch contained most of the night. The University of Washington commit has a Kamehameha connection of his own. His mother, Redlands athletic director Rhonda Fouch, was known as Rhonda Hoenisch when she was Kamehameha's female athlete of the year in 1975, according to Warriors athletic director Erv Kau.
Kamehameha's defense has allowed only 13 points in its past two games, against Farrington and Redlands. Like Redlands, which was 7-0 (10-1-1) in the Citrus Belt League last year, Farrington has a highly productive passing attack. Except, of course, against the Warriors.
Steady improvement: Highly recruited defensive tackle Kaniela Tuipulotu continues to rest his sore ankle and Achilles' heel, Kahuku coach Reggie Torres said. Tuipulotu, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound senior, is expected to return to action Sept. 23, when second-ranked Kahuku meets McKinley.