Large public school. Medium-sized private school.
When ninth-ranked Mililani hosts No. 6 ‘Iolani Friday night in a statewide televised nonconference game (OC 16), two of the state’s most consistently competitive programs will show they have more in common than it might seem on the surface.
Neither team is especially big on the defensive side of the ball. Though ‘Iolani uses a no-huddle run-and-shoot offense, misdirection and quick passes are big staple in their diet — somewhat similar to what Mililani does best.
The Trojans have one distinct edge: a mammoth offensive line. Coach Rod York, in his first season at the helm after years as an assistant coach at Mililani and Leilehua, has a defensive background.
However, he’s comfortable enough handing the keys to the rocket over to offensive coordinator Bobby George and quarterback Trent McKinney.
‘Iolani is in transition after the graduation of quarterback Jarrett Arakawa.
Kevin Barayuga remains one of the state’s top returning receivers, but Trevyn Tulonghari remains sidelined with an ankle injury.
Mililani’s girth in the trenches will test the mettle and middle of ‘Iolani’s defense, which saw tackle Sealii Epenesa graduate, too.
Here’s a look more Friday matchups. Kailua at No. 1 Kahuku — The Surfriders (0-1, 0-0 OIA) are also going through changes, adopting a shotgun, four-wide set with sophomore Kahaku Iaea at the controls. They looked sharp early against Baldwin last week, but constant false starts derailed the rest of their possessions in a 19-10 loss.
Kahuku (1-0, 0-0) was impressive in a 27-7 nonconference win over Waianae last week. This Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East opener is a tough road for Kailua in Kahuku territory, especially against a balanced, powerful Red Raider offense.
Kaiser vs. No. 5 Farrington, Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium — Kaiser’s return to the OIA Red West begins with one of the state’s most powerful teams. The Cougars (0-1, 0-0) have tough running backs, including Jarrin Inagaki, but will probably have to find success through the air to stay with the mammoth Governors (1-0, 0-0), who won their nonconference game at Campbell last week.
Waialua vs. Kalaheo, Kailua field — The Bulldogs scored just one touchdown in each of their last four games last season, and then were held to one touchdown last week by ‘Iolani. Kalaheo has dealt with low numbers, but will have 34 in uniform Friday, including prolific running back Jesse Carney.
Anuenue at Pearl City — Na Koa topped the Chargers 27-13 in last year’s battle, but enter Friday’s game with five sick players (flu). That almost caused coach Kealoha Wengler to forfeit the game — they have 24 on the roster — but his players persisted.
"There’s no way they were going to let me do that," Wengler said.
Anuenue (0-1, 0-0) meets a Pearl City squad (1-0, 0-0) coming off a huge 14-7 upset win over Kapolei in a nonconference meeting last week.
Damien at Radford — The Monarchs (0-1, 0-0) are finding themselves in the early going, still weeks away from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu regular season. Radford (0-1, 0-0) is coming off a 21-3 nonconference loss to Castle.
Kealakehe at Konawaena — The Division I dynasty of Kealakehe took a major blow last season when Honokaa took the title. The Waveriders don’t want to lose to their D-II rival Friday, but the Wildcats have a history of giving their neighbors up north a hard time. Konawaena (0-1, 0-0) won a nonconference game with Kealakehe (1-0, 0-0) two years ago.
Kamehameha-Hawaii at Waiakea — This nonconference game between the D-II KS-Hawaii Warriors and the D-I Waiakea Warriors is the opener for KSH. Waiakea lost to Maui last week 33-0.