Posted: September 1, 2012 - 7:02pm
No. 4 Leilehua holds off No. 5 Mililani, 17-13
Leilehua DL Jeremy Taua applies some heavy pressure to Mililani QB Jarin Morikawa. Johnny Wilson | Special to SL
WAHIAWA - The smile on Shaldan Kalaau's face said it all.
Leilehua forced five turnovers and held Mililani's Jarin Morikawa to just 107 passing yards, in a tightly-contested 17-13 win over its neighboring rival Saturday night.
A near-capacity crowd of about 3,500 at Hugh Yoshida Stadium saw the Mules (3-0), ranked fourth in the ScoringLive/OC16 Power Rankings, stymie the fifth-ranked Trojans (3-1) time after time in an Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West Conference game.
After trailing 17-7 after three quarters, Mililani pulled within a score following a 21-yard touchdown pass from Morikawa to Ekolu Ramos early in the fourth. However, the extra point kick was missed and the Trojans trailed, 17-13.
The Trojans had several chances late in the game to pull ahead, but their final two drives ended in Morikawa interceptions, including Kalaau's pick inside the game's final minute.
Mililani had second-and-10 from the Mules' 15-yard line when Kalaau jumped the pass and returned it to the 22. Leilehua took two knees to run out the clock and held on for the win.
"Our game plan coming in defensively against Mililani was just to do our assignments - nothing changed because they're a great passing team," said Kalaau, who has his school's colors (green and gold) represented in his braces.
All five of the Mules' takeaways came in the second half. A fumble by Mililani's Dayton Furuta near the goal line early in the third quarter resulted in a touchback when the ball bounced out of the end zone. On the Trojans' next possession, another fumble - forced by Keannu Kamakaiwi - was scooped up by defensive lineman Robert McCarthy, who ran it back 27 yards for a Leilehua touchdown.
"Starting from the start of the season, our defense has said that they were going to get takeaways for our offense and they did that tonight," Mules coach Nolan Tokuda said. "We lost a lot of key guys on offense from last year, so we're not going to be as potent, so our defense has been making plays for us week in and week out."
Brennan Jacinto, Branson Funakoshi and Kalaau recorded Leilehua's three interceptions. Morikawa, who entered the game leading all Division I quarterbacks in passing yards, had just eight completions after halftime. He was sacked four times, including twice by Kamakaiwi. Morikawa finished 19-of-39 passing.
"It helps us out a lot when the linemen and linebackers can get pressure because it keeps pressure off of the defensive backs as far as deep balls in the air," Kalaau said.
Leilehua opened the scoring midway through the first quarter on a short touchdown run by Ikaika Piceno. His 2-yard plunge into paydirt capped a nine-play, 70-yard drive and Jacinto added the extra point to make the score, 7-0.
Late in the second quarter, Jacinto put the Mules ahead by two scores when he nailed a 43-yard field goal, but Mililani answered with a 19-yard scoring strike from Morikawa to Ramos on a third-down play. Mark Matas tacked on the extra point and the Leilehua lead was cut to 10-7 at the half.
"Their pressure made it hard for our guys. It's nothing that we weren't prepared for, but we couldn't execute because of their pressure and that's basically it," Trojans coach Rod York said. "They forced us to run the ball, so we ran the ball, but we wanted to throw the ball also, and when we did we didn't capitalize on our opportunities."
The score held until Morikawa and Ramos hooked up again with 9:55 left in the game to close out the scoring.
"They're our rivals and everything, but much love to them. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have this good rivalry and these good games," said Kamakaiwi, a junior linebacker. "I'm just proud of our defense that we held it together."
The Trojans picked up 22 first downs, by just six by pass and were held to 7-of-18 on third downs. Furuta led all rushes with 96 yards on 14 carries.
"That's a good offense and Jarin Morikawa is a good quarterback, so to do what they did, I'm so proud of our boys," Tokuda said of his defense.
Leilehua, which used three quarterbacks, was held to 166 yards of total offense and converted on just two of its 15 third downs. The teams combined for 35 penalties; Leilehua was flagged 19 times for 201 yards and Mililani 16 times for 143 yards.
Leilehua is 1-0 in the Red West, while Mililani dropped it's league record to 1-1. It was the first time in the last five meetings between the teams that the home team has won.
September 1, 2012
Leilehua QB Justin Jenks scrambles away from pressure against Mililani. Johnny Wilson | Special to SL