Chase for the Championship
Mililani grounds Iolani, 31-20, for D1 title


  

Two Mililani defenders combined for one of seven sacks on Iolani QB Tai-John Mizutani. CJ Caraang | SL

HALAWA — Mililani rolled through Iolani, 31-20, on the ground and on defense to claim the Division I title in the First Hawaiian Bank/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Football State Championships at Hawaiian Tel FCU Field at Aloha Stadium.

The Trojans (9-3 overall) claim their first Division I title since 2014 when they beat Punahou, 53-45.

"We realized it wasn't the Open championship game, but it's like a bowl game. We were honored to be in it and we thank our kids for making it happen," said Mililani coach Rod York.

Iolani (5-8 overall) overcame an 0-7 pounding in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, but made the most of their postseason play to beat Moanalua and Campbell to reach the title game.

"I think they made the most of the opportunities. They learned a lot from the ILH season and how to compete the top teams in the state. Credit to them for the perseverance they had. To get to this spot says a lot of this team," said Iolani coach Wendell Look.

Mililani gained 239 net rushing yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. Jalen Olomua rushed for 98 yards and two scores. Darius Muasau added 101 yards on 22 attempts.

"Our running backs played great. I couldn't ask for better and they have a feel for running. They're physical," said Gabriel, on the Olomua, Muasau tandem.

"All the credit goes to the o-line. They worked so hard this week and this season. We had seven deep all season, credit to them," said Olomua.

Dillon Gabriel threw for 190 yards on 20-of-32 passing, but was intercepted three times.

"I didn't play my part, but that's why it's a team game. You find other ways to win, I'm glad we got the ‘W'", said Gabriel.

"They gave it to us and we took it," said York, on the run game. "That's what got us here. The defense played well, we didn't do well offensively in the second half. Credit their defense, they stopped us. We kept going and going and luckily the time went out."

The Mililani front hounded Mizutani all night for minus-78 rushing yards and sacked him seven times. Asher Pilanca and Dustin Gapusan each came away with interceptions. The 186 yards of total offense is the Raiders' second lowest output of the season.

Dante James-Fainga, Keawe Fox and Olomua each recorded two sacks.

"We had to execute what the coaches told us. That was basically it—execution and doing our jobs," said Dante James-Fainga, who had four tackles and two of the Trojans' seven sacks.

"Credit to the DBs because they held it down. It allowed us to get to the quarterback and get some sacks on him," said Olomua.

"You have to want to go after him (Mizutani). We kept it simple and brought blitzes from all different directions and tried to confuse them," said York.

Mililani's first offensive drive resulted in a 29-yard field goal by Damien Santiago.

The Trojans started on the Iolani 45 following a short punt. Six plays later, the Trojans answered with a 19-yard touchdown run by Jalen Olomua to make it, 10-0.

"They executed better than us on offense. Defensively they were aggressive and came after us. Credit them, the better team won tonight," said Look.

Iolani went on a nine play, 67 yard drive. A 20-yard screen pass from Mizutani to Jonah Miyazawa and an encroachment penalty on Mililani set up Mizutani's pass to KJ Pascua for a 14-yard touchdown.

Mizutani threw for 262 yards on 22-of-48 passing, two TDs—both to Pascua, and two picks.

Joshua Banks sacked Mizutani and forced the fumble and Tasi Malepeai scooped it up to rumble 31 yards for a Trojans' touchdown to make it, 17-7.

"The D-line helped open up gaps for the linebackers to get in so that was a major role," said James-Fainga.

Iolani started their drive on the Mililani 33 following a personal foul penalty on the return. However, the Raiders would only come away with a 36-yard field goal by Evan Minami to trail, 17-10.

Mililani started at their own 14 and had a chance to increase the lead getting down to the Iolani 8. The Trojans were flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty after a Gabriel run and Cameron Chang sacked him to end the half.

The Trojans were flagged for nine penalties for 114 yards in the first half. They overcame 11 penalties for 124 penalty yards for the game.

Mililani opened up the third quarter with an 80-yard scoring drive capped by Olomua's 28-yard TD, his second of the night. Olomua also caught a 38-yard pass on a third-and-7 to keep the drive alive.

"That's our advantage. We have big backs that can go. We have slash backers and our o-line did a helluva job," said York.

Minami added his second field goal from 33 yards out to go 2-for-2 on the night, but the Raiders trailed, 24-13.

Kailiohu Kila rushed for 35 yards and added a 13-yard touchdown to finish a six play, 78-yard drive with 4:39 left in the third quarter to make it a three possession game, 31-13.

Pascua was held to 2 rushing yards for the game, but finished with a game-high 102 receiving yards—his second and Iolani's final TD came at 2:30 in the fourth quarter.

Chang led the Iolani defense with 11 tackles—one for a loss, a sack and two pass breakups. Helam Baldomero, Kaua Nishigaya and Junior Fetui-Salavea each added interceptions.



Reach Brandon Ching at brandon@scoringlive.com.


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