HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mililani's Dalaunte Stevenson and Aiea's David Sevaaetasi whiffed on a pass last night.
Mililani stays on top
A couple of big plays on special teams helped No. 4 Mililani send a festive homecoming crowd home in a celebratory mood.
A blocked punt and a long return set up Trojan scores as Mililani pulled out a 21-14 OIA Red West victory over Aiea last night to maintain a place atop the conference standings.
Mililani improved to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference. Aiea dropped to 3-3 and 2-2.
Trojans cornerbacks Kawika Ornellas and Cody Kilthau spent much of the night chasing Aiea receivers around the field and turned in two of the biggest plays of the game on the punt unit.
Ornellas' block in the second quarter set up a touchdown that gave Mililani a 14-7 halftime lead. After Aiea tied the game in the third quarter, Kilthau's 33-yard punt return led to a drive capped by Dalaunte Stevenson's 1-yard plunge for the decisive score with 4:24 left.
"Homecoming is a hard week for the kids to hold their emotions together, and it shows the character of these guys," Mililani coach Darnell Arceneaux said. "These guys are battle tested and they use that to their advantage. You have guys who understand if there's time on the clock and it's close we can go down and win the game."
Mililani running back Michael Among-Serrao paced the Trojan offense with 104 rushing yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Rustin Funakoshi ran for 35 yards and a score and passed for 118.
It was just enough to counter an Aiea passing attack led by quarterback Keenan Naeole that racked up 280 yards. James Buchanan caught four passes for 119 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown.
But the Trojans were able to slow down Na Alii enough to pull out the win.
"We just tried to change stuff and give them different looks," said Kilthau. "They're all very athletic and fast."
The game had the makings of a shootout early on, with both teams driving for scores on their opening possessions.
The Trojans' go-ahead score was set up by a blocked punt by Ornellas as Among-Serrao broke free up the middle for a 30-yard run to the end zone.
Aiea threatened to tie the game late in the second quarter, driving to the Mililani 5. But a high snap on third down pushed Na Alii back to the 24 and a fourth-down completion came up short.
Na Alii capitalized on their lone possession of the third quarter to tie the game. Naeole's 38-yard completion to Buchanan set up a 2-yard run by Christian Kupau on one of Aiea's few running plays of the night.
Mililani forced Aiea to punt on its next drive. Kilthau fielded the kick at his own 42, broke through a seam in the coverage and was finally brought down at the Aiea 25. Stevenson scored five plays later to give Mililani the lead for good.
"On special teams we made some mistakes that put us in bad positions," Aiea coach Wendell Say said. "Our kids played a heck of a game, we made more mistakes that cost us."
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