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StarBulletin.com

Mililani has athletes all over


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POSTED: Friday, August 07, 2009

There's only one Taz in Mililani, and he is more than just a whirling dervish.

Dalaunte “;Taz”; Stevenson will be busier than the other Taz, and unlike the cartoon character, Mililani's most versatile football player will take on a new role this fall. Stevenson, a dangerous wide receiver and running back, will range north, south, east and west as a safety in the Trojans' defensive backfield.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior is one reason Mililani is No. 8 in the Star-Bulletin Preseason Football Top 10. Elsewhere, the Trojans have as many reasons to be optimistic—new talent overflows at several positions—as doubters have to be pessimistic.

Mililani coach Darnell Arceneaux is in his third season. Despite just eight returning starters, he's bullish.

“;We've got character kids, great kids. We're not having to deal with a lot of off-field issues. That allows us to concentrate on Xs and Os. We've got the kind of player who wants to be a football player 12 months a year, and a lot of that is because we have administrators and teachers who work with us,”; he said.

               

     

 

TOP 10 COUNTDOWN

        With the high school football season approaching, the Star-Bulletin is counting down its preseason
       

       

10. Waianae
        9. 'Iolani
        8. Mililani
        7. Tomorrow
        6. Sunday
        5. Monday
        4. Tuesday
        3. Wednesday
        2. Next Thursday
        1. Aug. 14

       

       

MILILANI

       

       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
2009
Aug. 22Leilehua
Aug. 28Punahou
Sept. 5at Waipahu
Sept. 11at Campbell
Sept. 19Castle
Sept. 26at Nanakuli
Oct. 3Kapolei
Oct. 9Waianae

       

2008 (5-5)
        Castle 28, Mililani 21 Saint Louis 48, Mililani 20
        Leilehua 24, Mililani 13 Mililani 20, Waipahu 7 Mililani 24, Pearl City 6 Mililani 21, Nanakuli 6 Kapolei 20, Mililani 17 Mililani 20, Waianae 16

       

2008 OIA Playoffs
        Mililani 21, Kailua 12 Kahuku 42, Mililani 13

       

 

       

       

2008: 5-5 (5-3 OIA Red).

On paper: Trent McKinney, a 6-foot, 180-pound junior, transferred from Kapolei. He's taking a crash course on Mililani's multiple-set attack.

“;He's probably the most athletic quarterback I've ever coached,”; Arceneaux said. “;His running ability makes me look slow from back in the day. The biggest thing is for him to learn.”;

McKinney will get plenty of competition from Nainoa Pihana, who is up from the JV team. Like McKinney, Pihana has 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash. Their main targets are 6-4 Haasan Richardson and 6-3 Kama Paulo.

“;Both of these guys stretch the field and they're great, great guys. They're starting to believe in what they can do,”; Arceneaux said.

Traditionally, Mililani has solid O-line play, and if the aerial attack is efficient, Stevenson can focus more on defense.

“;He is what he is. He's going to get us over the hump. He's a great talent: fast, great catching the ball, and eats up a lot of space,”; Arceneaux said. “;He's adjusted well.”;

Stevenson, who earned the defensive award at the All-Poly Camp in July, has scholarship offers from seven universities.

Zach Quines, a 6-3, 215-pound senior, is the latest in a long line of stellar middle linebackers at Mililani.

“;He's jumped up on the radar, covers sideline to sideline and reads well. He's one of the top-five linebackers in the state from what I've seen in my camps,”; Arceneaux said. “;Toward the end of last year, he had big games against Waianae and Leilehua. He leads by example and doesn't say a lot. A great kid.”;

The Trojans are smaller on defense, but quicker. Outside linebacker Jarren Pestana is another key.

“;He ran a 4.5 at both (PIAA) camps,”; the coach said. “;He's a bullet getting shot out every time.”;

Chris Ornellas, a senior cornerback, is one of the spark plugs of the secondary.

The skinny: ”;We lack game experience. We need that early,”; Arceneaux said before yesterday's scrimmage at Kamehameha. “;And depth. Our ones and twos are great, but after that we're not as deep as other teams.”;

While some programs rarely stray from a set offensive formation, the Trojans will go with two backs (shotgun), one back and empty backfields. They'll run the option, throw screens and everything in between.

“;We want to keep our defense off the field,”; Arceneaux said. “;We need to do a better job of getting touchdowns instead of field goals.”;

X factor: With giant receivers in Paulo and Richardson, Mililani has a chance to dominate foes in the red zone. That's why “;fade stops”;, as Arceneaux calls them, could become a big part of the passing game this year.