Thursday, November 26, 2015         

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Family affair tonight in Wahiawa

By Paul Honda


It's about cousins, fathers, mothers, sons and even daughters.

Brothers and sisters, too. When the Mililani Trojans visit the Leilehua Mules tomorrow night, there's more than the top seeding in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West at stake.

There are family ties aplenty that stretch across the Central Oahu plain. Former Mililani coach James Millwood enjoyed facing the Mules, more so winning games against them, since a chunk of his family (in-laws) are Leilehua alums.

Current Trojans coach Rod York has ties to the green-and-gold, as well, having been an assistant coach there for several seasons. He joined Mililani's staff in recent years, and since Darnell Arceneaux's departure back to his alma mater (Saint Louis), York has led the Trojans to a 6-1 overall mark by unleashing his team's strengths.

No other team has scored points like them. Mililani has not scored fewer than 28 points, and since a home loss to Waianae, has averaged 40 points per game.

That came against physical defenses, but No. 4 Leilehua offers something no other team in the OIA does: a stand-up, shifting unit of defenders that leaves opposing quarterbacks and linemen making educated guesses, at best, about who's coming and who's going.

That's why, when No. 3 Mililani travels up Kamehameha Highway to visit the cousins in Wahiawa, forces will collide and brothers will be rivals, if just for a few hours.

Here's a look at this weekend's games:

Today's games

» No. 10 Castle at No. 1 Kahuku: The Knights (5-2, 3-2 OIA Red East) came through last week with a resounding win at Kailua. The ground attack, with Teawe Olds amassing 97 second-half yards, was surprisingly effective. That could be good news since it was just two weeks ago when Moanalua went over the century mark in rushing yardage against the Red Raiders.

The Knights have eschewed their usual no-huddle attack, at least for now, but Jaymason Lee remains one of the league's top passers.

Kahuku (7-0, 5-0), which has already clinched the top seed in the division, has allowed just six points in its last four Red East games. Last week's 16-0 win over Farrington was played on a slick, muddy surface and could figure into the equation if rains return tomorrow.

» No. 8 Baldwin at King Kekaulike: The defensive-powered Bears are unbeaten against local teams (5-1, 4-0 Maui Interscholastic League) and finally cracked the Top 10 two weeks ago. Though their wide-open run-and-shoot offense isn't quite as potent as a few years back, they have depth on defense -- several starters didn't play in a 19-10 win at Kailua to start the season -- and kicker Ceejay Santos is among the best in the state. Santos, a senior, has 53- and 50-yard field goals this season, and just about every kickoff has landed in the end zone and beyond.

» Kaiser at Roosevelt: It's the last chance for the hard-luck Cougars (0-8, 0-5 OIA Red East) to take that zero off their win-loss record. Just two weeks ago, both of these teams were tied at the bottom of the Red East, but Roosevelt (2-5, 2-3) has turned things around with wins over Castle and Moanalua. The Rough Riders have thrown the Red East playoff race into a traffic jam; another win would give them a possible berth. With Kahuku, Kailua and Castle in the top three spots, for now, Farrington, Moanalua and Roosevelt are tied in fourth. One of those teams will fall through the cracks as only five make the playoffs.

» Campbell at Aiea: A tough 7-2 loss at Radford last week all but took the sail out of Aiea's playoff hopes. Na Alii (3-4, 1-4 OIA Red West) could be a spoiler tonight, though, against the young, improving Sabers.

Campbell (3-4, 2-3) is tied with Waianae for fourth place and can clinch a berth with a win. A loss allows Aiea to finish tied for fifth with Campbell, and based on the head-to-head tiebreaker, Aiea would get the nod.

» Radford at Waianae: The proud Seariders (2-5, 2-3 OIA Red West) are in that same logjam. A win would give them the tiebreaker edge over Radford (4-3, 3-2), but even then, Waianae's place in the order will be affected by Campbell's game. The Seariders lost at home to Campbell on Aug. 27, which means they could finish as high as third or as low as sixth.

Waianae's loss to Aiea on Sept. 10 factors into the tiebreaker formula, too. It comes down to this: The Seariders need a win to ensure a shot at a berth. That's entirely possible with an offense that has been awakened. Waianae scored 55 points in the past two games, including this past week's 30-26 loss at Leilehua.

» McKinley at Waialua: The Tigers (3-4, 3-2 OIA White) have their sights set on a playoff berth, but they're behind Kaimuki, Pearl City, Waipahu and Kalaheo. Waialua (3-5, 3-4) needs a minor miracle to carve out a postseason spot, but could play spoiler tonight. The Bulldogs gave Pearl City all it could handle in a 27-21 home loss last week.

» Kaimuki at Waipahu: The visiting Bulldogs (6-1, 5-0 OIA White) have some top-level talent with the likes of Chester Sua (Washington State). They've dominated Division II competition since a nonconference loss at Mililani to start the season.

A win by the Marauders (5-1, 4-1) would give them the tiebreaker edge for first place. Running back Victor Moananu has 391 rushing yards in his last two games.

» Keaau at Kealakehe: The Waveriders (6-1, 4-0 Big Island Interscholastic Federation) are back to their dynastic ways again. Like another neighbor island powerhouse, Baldwin, Kealakehe's only loss so far was a nonconference defeat at the hands of a mainland bully (Skyline, Utah).

Other than that, the 'Riders have dominated competition, winning by at least 15 points in every game but one: an 18-9 victory at Keaau four weeks ago. Though Kealakehe dominated Keaau last season in 45-0 and 42-7 wins, the Cougars (2-3, 2-2) have a history of pushing the Waveriders back regardless of game site. Last week's astounding 41-40 comeback win over Hilo was a major transition from early-season doughnuts on the offensive side.

» Ka'u at Honokaa: The Trojans (2-3, 2-3 BIIF) saw their dream of a winning season take a turn in the wrong direction with last week's loss at Konawaena. Honokaa (4-3, 4-2) trounced them 41-14 to start the league schedule. The Dragons are one of the hottest teams in D-II, winning their past three games by a combined score of 94-0, including last week's 13-0 stunner at Hawaii Prep. 

Tomorrow's games

» No. 2 Saint Louis vs. No. 6 'Iolani, Aloha Stadium: Coming off a bye week, there is little chance the Crusaders (6-1, 4-0 Interscholastic League of Honolulu) will look past the Raiders (5-2, 3-1), especially considering 'Iolani's upset win over Saint Louis two seasons ago.

The Raiders also had last week off, still smarting from a 24-19 loss at Punahou. With a win over another D-I power, Kamehameha, four weeks ago, 'Iolani could assert its position as an unofficial co-ILH champion by running the table. With some bumps and bruises on the offensive line, 'Iolani will be pressed to protect sophomore quarterback Reece Foy against a stellar Saint Louis defense. The Crusaders blanked the Raiders last year 28-0, limiting them to 188 total yards in 66 plays.

» No. 3 Mililani at No. 4 Leilehua: The Mules permitted a season-high 26 points in a narrow win over Waianae last week. Like Waianae, Mililani has a mobile quarterback in Trent McKinney. Unlike Waianae, the Trojans have used their air schemes to open up the running game with Zachary Payomo (868 yards, 8.1 per attempt).

McKinney, who has 14 touchdown passes and only four interceptions, has gone long often to Hassan Richardson (29 receptions, 452 yards, six touchdowns). He's also relied on Bryson Calma (26 catches) for intermediate hookups. Above all, though, McKinney has met lofty expectations with more than 1,600 yards in offense.

Leilehua, with a duo of Kenan Sadanaga and Jordan Kalaau at quarterback, has evolved offensively after starting the season with a heavy emphasis on defense.

» Damien vs. No. 5 Punahou, Aloha Stadium: The Buffanblu (4-2, 2-2 ILH) can keep title possibilities alive with a win. Four times, Punahou has allowed single-digit point totals defensively, but the offense's 3-point output in the loss to Kamehameha last week was a season low.

» No. 7 Kamehameha vs. Pac-Five, Aloha Stadium: The Wolfpack (2-5, 1-3 ILH) can stay in the D-II chase with an upset win. However, the Warriors (3-3, 1-2) are on a mission since losing their first two league games. Linebacker Kawika Stant has returned from an elbow injury to shore up a talented, but relatively young defensive unit. Defensive end Koa Ka'ai, one of the state's most heavily recruited players, could be a big concern for Pac-Five's young passer, Jack Foster.

» Moanalua vs. No. 9 Farrington, Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium: The bloom is off Moanalua's early rise. Now Na Menehune (3-4, 2-3 OIA Red East) simply want to make the playoffs. With Farrington (4-3, 2-3) also tied for fourth place in the division, this head-to-head battle will untangle the logjam. The Govs' young offensive line has been stopped in its tracks recently, with three sophomores in the trenches. Farrington has scored 15 points total in losses to Kailua and Kahuku.

» Pearl City vs. Kalaheo, Kailua High School field: The Chargers' first trip to the Windward side this fall is another big test. Pearl City (6-1, 5-1 OIA White) took care of business against the lower half of the division before losing to front-running Waipahu last week. Kalaheo (4-2, 4-2) remembers last year's matchup with Pearl City well. Then-junior Jesse Carney rushed for 292 yards on 25 carries, including three touchdowns. Carney, a two-way starter, hasn't let down a bit this season, but Pearl City's defense is its jewel.

» Anuenue vs. Kalani, Kaiser Stadium: Na Koa (2-5, 2-4 OIA White) have a smidgen of a shot in the overall playoff picture. Kalani (0-6, 0-5) has made some progress this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Stopping Anuenue's double-wing offense has worked efficiently for a team that often plays with just 19 in uniform. Running back Ikaika Gante has put up major numbers despite Ironman duties.

» Hilo vs. Waiakea, Wong Stadium: The Vikings (2-4, 1-4 BIIF) have seen a promising start erode into heartbreak. Last week's 41-40 loss at Keaau was the latest setback, but the good news is that Hilo continues to air the ball out with results. Quarterback Kamaka Lewis passed for 237 yards and three touchdowns last week. Waiakea (1-4, 1-3) won an earlier matchup with Hilo 35-32, but lost at Keaau and Kealakehe since.

» Kohala at Hawaii Prep: Ka Makani (5-2, 4-2 BIIF) continue to struggle offensively without injured quarterback Keanu Yamamoto. Kohala (0-5, 0-5 BIIF) lost to HPA 66-0 when the teams met in late August.

» Konawaena at Kamehameha-Hawaii: Times are great again for the Warriors (7-1, 7-0 BIIF), who are in the driver's seat among the league's D-II teams. They shut out the Wildcats 41-0 six weeks ago in Kealakekua.

» Kauai at Waimea, Hanapepe Stadium: Every game is essentially a playoff for the Red Raiders (4-1, 2-1 Kauai Interscholastic Federation), who share the league lead with Kapaa.

Waimea is 1-3 in league play (2-4 overall).

» Kamehameha-Maui at Lahainaluna: A rare home game under the scorching West Maui sun will bring out a considerable crowd for the Lunas (4-1, 3-1 MIL). The teams met two weeks ago Upcountry, where Lahainaluna won 21-7. KS-Maui (3-3, 2-3) is coming off a 35-3 loss to Baldwin.

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