HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mililani's Rustin Funakoshi tried to get past Leilehua's Josh Cruz during last night's playoff game at Mililani. The Mules won in OT, 27-21.
Mules oust Mililani
Defense wins championships, but the Leilehua Mules didn't know they'd be this good with a rookie at the helm.
Andrew Manley, a sophomore call-up from the junior varsity, tossed a pair of touchdown passes and Bronson Pausa scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in overtime as No. 10-ranked Leilehua upset fourth-ranked Mililani 27-21 last night at John Kauinana Stadium.
Leilehua advanced to the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference playoffs, ousting the same team that it had lost to early in the regular season.
The Mules opened overtime with a defensive stop at the goal line. Mililani's Colin Lund had drilled a 32-yard field goal, but a running-into-the-kicker penalty gave the Trojans first down at the 10. Moments later, running back Dalaunte Stevenson was stopped short of the end zone on fourth down by Leilehua's Bradley Iaulualo and Josh Cruz.
"The tackle blocked down and my inside guys did a great job. We did it as a team," Iaulualo said. "We preach 'Shut D'. That's all we believe."
Coach Nolan Tokuda, disappointed in himself as the Mules were 3-3 in regular-season play, was nearly speechless.
"I don't know what I'm gonna tell them when we get back (to Leilehua). I just know I love these guys," he said.
Leilehua then got the ball at the 20-yard line, by overtime rules. They needed only four plays to get into the end zone, with Pausa scoring off right tackle from the 2 to win the game. Manley, who was 7-for-20 for 159 yards, did not commit a turnover in his first varsity start.
"I got nervous a little bit when they told me on Saturday," he said. "But all the varsity boys backed me up. I just felt bad leaving my JV boys."
Leilehua's Rico Newman did a yeoman's job with 22 carries for 97 hard-earned yards.
The Trojans took an early lead with their second series. The 13-play, 75-yard drive got a boost on Rustin Funakoshi's 33-yard post strike to Joshua Manuma, and later a 20-yard pass to Colin Lund. Stevenson's 1-yard score on a toss sweep put the Trojans ahead 7-0 with 45 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Leilehua's offense came to life with a five-play, 60-yard drive. Manley found Robert Siavii on a streak pattern, and the 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior eluded the tackler and sprinted to paydirt to tie the game with 10:57 left in the second quarter.
The Mules, second in total defense in the Red West during the regular season, stiffened up and Leilehua got the ball back after a punt on Mililani's 33-yard line. A 27-yard pass from Manley to Rico Newman set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Pausa. Leilehua led 14-7 with 3:26 remaining in the first half.
Moments later, Funakoshi took advantage of Leilehua's single-safety coverage and delivered a bomb to Stevenson for a 62-yard touchdown play. The game was tied at 14 with 3:10 to go in the second quarter.
Mililani later drove to the Leilehua 5-yard line, but came up scoreless. On third down, Funakoshi eluded a heavy rush and appeared to have room to run, but heaved a high pass to Trent Tamate in the back of the end zone, and the receiver was unable to come down with the ball inbounds.