SB FILE / 2006
Mililani's Rustin Funakoshi is a three-year starter at quarterback. CLICK FOR LARGE
Arceneaux works to continue winning tradition at Mililani
Don't let the laid-back demeanor fool you.
Darnell Arceneaux is always about business when he steps on the football field. Even in the virtual world of Madden football, the former Saint Louis all-state quarterback reigns quite proudly.
That's why his frantic, no-day-off work schedule has only one real relief: the football field.
NO. 7 MILILANI TROJANS
Here's a look at Mililani's results from the 2006 football season and its schedule this season:
Kaimuki -- W 34-12
Iolani -- W 26-23
Waianae -- L 28-13
Leilehua -- L 23-14
Kapolei -- W 34-6
Aiea -- W 37-20
Campbell -- W 21-17
Radford -- W 27-21
Farrington -- W 33-6
Waianae -- L 7-6
Leilehua -- W 23-21
Baldwin -- L 22-17
Aug. 24 -- Waianae
Sept. 1 -- Pac-Five
Sept. 7 -- Leilehua
Sept. 15 -- at Kapolei
Sept. 21 -- Aiea
Oct. 5 -- Campbell
Oct. 12 -- at Radford
Arceneaux's emergence as the new coach at Mililani isn't a departure from the winning tradition established by recently retired coach James Millwood. Arceneaux retained several of last year's assistants, and Mililani's returning players have already had one year of familiarizing themselves with the former offensive coordinator's schemes and standards.
Arceneaux led Saint Louis to the state final in his one season at the helm there, closing with a heartbreaking 27-26 loss to Kahuku. Now, he teaches at Mililani and is hands-on with the well-established program.
"Football is the gap. When I'm there, I don't think about bills or school or anything else. It's the place where there's only one law, and that's our Trojan rules. Just have the spirit to fly around and play football. We're lucky to play this game of football," the former Utah quarterback said.
That's why a No. 7 ranking in the Star-Bulletin Football Preseason Top 10 is neither good nor bad in the coach's eyes. His attention for 3 hours a day on the field and many more off it is strictly on the basics. More so, teaching the basics to a new crop of starters.
All-State linebacker Josh Andrews graduated, as did All-State running back Jordan Torres, as well as a cast of quality starters.
"You lose a lot of the game-experience guys," Arceneaux said. "We got really young when we lost those seniors. I think the guys are picking up the slack, the seniors to be. They understand how serious it was to get a jump in spring ball."
The schematics of Mililani's offense went through a revision of sorts when Arceneaux became OC last year. Among the tweaks was the implementation of a flex option.
"Last year, we started to go in a new dimension and make our running backs multi-purpose," he said.
With Torres gone, defenses won't have an obvious focal point.
"We're looking for the best 1-on-1 matchup, so depending what the defense gives us, we'll get the guys the ball in open space," Arceneaux said, referring to the responsibilities of third-year starting quarterback Rustin Funakoshi.
"He's got the most experience of any quarterback in the state," Arceneaux said. "We're gonna go as far as he takes us in this type of offense. They're gonna cover downfield, he understands getting the ball out to our guys in space. It's all about making that pre-snap read. I don't need our quarterbacks to win the game for us, but to just manage the game."
Mililani returns just three starters on each side of the ball, but 14 Trojans saw significant playing time. Last year was clutch in one sense: Mililani finished third in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West, but knocked out Farrington and Leilehua to qualify for the state tourney.
Dreams of a state championship came to an end, however, in a gut-wrenching 22-17 loss to Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium. Baldwin's come-from-behind win has fueled the Trojans' offseason drive.
Among the standouts are two defensive backs.
"I believe I've got two of the best corners in the state," Arceneaux said of Cody Kilthau and Kawika Ornellas, a pair of 5-foot-10, 175-pound seniors. "These two kids allow us to do a lot of things."
A transfer from Utah, Veni Nanu, is a quick 6-4, 215-pound defensive end. "He reminds me a lot of David Veikune," Arceneaux said in reference to the ex-Campbell standout.
Lucas Ingram, brother of former Trojans standout Jake Ingram, is another key cog on defense. Sterling Cossey, a 5-10, 185-pound junior, has earned the nod at middle linebacker.
"He's a high-energy, big-motor guy. He can fill the shoes of Josh Andrews," Arceneaux said.