HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Mililani makes it to states
The ball bounced the Mililani Trojans' way for a change, and with it came a state-tournament berth.
Mililani, which suffered its share of bad breaks in a close semifinal loss to Waianae last week, secured a 23-21 win last night over Leilehua. The victory at chilly Hugh Yoshida Stadium sealed third place and the Oahu Interscholastic Association's final berth in the state tournament.
Mililani travels to play Maui Interscholastic League champion Baldwin on Friday at War Memorial Stadium.
The No. 9-ranked Trojans (8-3) rode on the legs of their two-headed monster at tailback. Jordan Torres, the league's leading rusher, galloped for 116 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while Isaiah Lawelawe tallied 65 tough yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts.
Torres played defensive back last night, making a multitude of tackles, so Lawelawe got the start.
"The game went a lot tougher than I expected. I don't mind sharing the ball with him," the senior said. "He's a good teammate."
What proved pivotal, though, were three miscues by the Mules' special teams.
"We practice a lot at it. We know they do it a lot," Mililani coach James Millwood said of Leilehua. "Last week, the ball didn't roll our way."
Technically, the two muffs on punt returns and a botched kickoff return on a Trojan squib kick aren't categorized as turnovers, but they were just as lethal.
The errors by Leilehua allowed Mililani to stay on the field, grind out time and yardage, and most importantly, kept Mules quarterback Bryant Moniz on the sideline.
The senior threw for 289 yards on 23-for-30 passing, including three touchdowns. His lone interception occurred when a pass zipped through the hands of a receiver.
"That's how we were successful against him in the past, when he was a sophomore," Millwood said, referring to Leilehua's run to the state finals in 2004.
Instead, the seventh-ranked Mules are done for the year after a 7-4 campaign.
Leilehua's first punt return muff came early in the game. Micah Cruz's blunder led to a 23-yard field goal by Colin Lund with 6:33 to go in the opening quarter.
Mixing the run and pass, the Mules marched 66 yards in seven plays on their next possession. Moniz fired a pretty corner-route pass to Martin Iosefo for a 19-yard touchdown, and Leilehua led 7-3 with 2:55 to go in the first quarter.
Neither team scored again for the rest of the half. Leilehua tried an on-side kick to start the third quarter, the Mules' second such attempt of the game, but Kawika Seguerre recovered at the Mililani 45-yard line. Moments later, on third and 11, Torres ran right and bolted back to the left en route to a 55-yard touchdown run. Mililani led 9-7 with 11:29 to go in the third quarter.
Mililani then went on an 11-play drive that took more than 5 minutes off the clock. David Rivers' 12-yard catch set the Trojans up at the 1-yard line, but a fumble at the end of the play that led to chaos in the end zone halted the game for a few minutes. The officials conferred and ruled the play down at the 1. Lawelawe scored easily on the ensuing snap. Mililani led 16-7 with 6:10 to go in the third quarter.
Extra point: Waianae will host its opening-round game on Friday in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I Football State Championships.
This is the second revision to the schedule since last year.
Originally, the OIA runner-up was slated to travel. Big Island Interscholastic Federation athletic directors asked for a switch that would allow their Division II champion to stay home, instead of traveling.
This meant that the Oahu Interscholastic Association runner-up would meet the BIIF champion. The game was penciled in to be played at Mililani High School for possible TV broadcast purposes.
The second revision to the schedule was a matter of finding a suitable, available facility. HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya said that two factors are working against neutral sites for state-tourney games on Oahu.
Mililani's field, Amemiya said, is worn down from heavy use. The field is also being used by the boys and girls soccer teams.
In addition, OC 16 will televise only the championship games, on a one-day delay.
OIA RED THIRD PLACE
No. 9 Mililani 23, No. 7 Leilehua 21
Mil--FG Colin Lund 23.
Lei--Martin Iosefo 19 pass from Bryant Moniz (Micah Uehara kick).
Mil--Jordan Torres 55 run (kick failed).
Mil--Isaiah Lawelawe 1 run (Lund kick).
Lei--Allan Macam 32 pass from Moniz (kick blocked).
Mil--Lawelawe 1 run (Lund kick).
Lei--Micah Abreu-Laybon 11 pass from Moniz (Lawelawe run).
RUSHING--Mililani: Torres 15-116, Isaiah Lawelawe 14-65, Kala Perbera 3-12, Rustin Funakoshi 4-7. Leilehua: Micah Abreu-Laybon 17-54, Adriano Alae 1-10, Paul Hernandez 1-6, Moniz 2-4, .
PASSING--Mililani: Funakoshi 9-20-1-93. Leilehua: Moniz 23-30-1-289.
RECEIVING--Mililani: Scott Burns 3-26, Perbera 2-17, Lund 1-26, David Rivers 1-12, Torres 1-7, Ikaika Payomo 1-5. Leilehua: Iosefo 11-150, Allan Macam 4-83, Abreu-Laybon 3-26, Kaipo Derego 2-15, Aric Edra 2-12, Alex Cruz 1-3.
Junior varsity--Leilehua 29, Castle 13.
ILH DIV II CHAMPIONSHIP
Iolani 33, Damien 19
BIIF DIVISION I CHAMPIONSHIP
Kealakehe 38, Kea'au 3