HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mililani's Dalaunte Stevenson went up for a pass, but didn't hold on. Kapolei's Kalae Parish and Nate Dixon, left, defended.
Mililani handles Koa, Kapolei
The Mililani Trojans are in a groove, the Kapolei Hurricanes simply aren't, and Darnell Arceneaux won't have any more nightmares.
Despite a week of bad dreams for the Mililani coach, his Trojans used a patient ball-control offense to run free against a normally tough Kapolei defense en route to a surprisingly easy 23-7 win last night.
"I couldn't sleep for one week. I had nightmares of (Mason) Koa running with the ball," Arceneaux said of the Kapolei quarterback, who struggled with his option reads early against a swarming Trojans defense.
A subdued crowd of about 1,500 saw No. 5-ranked Mililani improve to 2-1 in Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West play (3-1 overall) thanks to a 120-yard rushing performance by Michael Among-Serrao. Behind a quick-hitting offensive line, the visiting Trojans beat Kapolei to the punch again and again.
Mililani rushed for 175 yards on 37 attempts, and quarterback Rustin Funakoshi was almost flawless at the helm. Out of empty-backfield sets, the speedy senior ran for 52 yards on 12 carries and threw for another 103 yards as the Trojans moved the chains against a rusty Hurricane defensive unit.
"The three weeks off killed us," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. "We looked like it was the first game we ever played. At some point, you gotta show up and play."
A pivotal point came in the first quarter. After Mililani drove 53 yards in nine plays and scored on Funakoshi's 3-yard bootleg, the Trojans got the ball back on the next play from scrimmage.
Koa was hit by defensive end Lucas Ingram in the backfield. A wild scramble for the ball ensued, and Nick Maafala collected the first of his two recoveries at the Kapolei 1-yard line.
Dalaunte Stevenson's burst off right tackle into the end zone gave Mililani a commanding 14-0 lead with 6:08 to play in the first quarter.
Greg Nautu, who forced a fumble earlier in the quarter, recovered a fumble at the Kapolei 32-yard line with 28 seconds left in the first half. Two plays later, Colin Lund drilled a 47-yard field goal with plenty of room to spare as the clock expired. Mililani led 17-0 at intermission.
After Kapolei linebacker Cyril Ontai picked off a Funakoshi pass, the 'Canes came alive. Noah Pascua connected with Koa on two pass plays, including an acrobatic 31-yard bomb, and Shenon Moore scored on a 5-yard run to bring the Hurricanes within 17-7 midway through the third quarter.
Kapolei just couldn't get rolling, though. Nacho Martinez missed on a 29-yard field-goal try, and Mililani used a quick punt by Funakoshi -- downed at the 1-yard line by a hustling Stevenson -- to gain a decided field-position advantage for the rest of the game.
The Trojans put the game away with an eight-play, 62-yard march midway through the fourth quarter. Among-Serrao went over the 100-yard mark, and Stevenson, who moved from receiver to running back for goal-line situations, scored his second touchdown on another 1-yard run. Mililani led 23-7 with about 5 minutes to play in the game.
Kapolei outgained Mililani, 289 to 279, but gave the ball away three times. Mililani had just one turnover.
"We were very disjointed. We ran up the middle well and our (pass) protection was sound, but we had those turnovers and untimely penalties," Hernandez said. "Campbell (Kapolei's opponent next week) must be licking their chops."