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Trojans Have Title Hopes As They Plunge Into Spring Practice

For the Mililani football program, setting the stage for 2014 also means saying goodbye to 2013 – figuratively, that is.

“It doesn’t matter what we’ve done in past years, our goal is always to win that championship,” head coach Rod York said. “Right now, we want to make sure we are doing all the little things, (monitoring) our grade checks, making sure we have a good work ethic, and the right attitude is always No. 1. When we take care of those things, we are taking care of business.”

The Trojans begin spring practices next week, after coming off one of the most memorable seasons in their proud history. In 2013, the team went 11-2 en route to winning the OIA Red Title. It also made it to the Division I state title game, where it was edged by Punahou, 28-22. Mililani’s only other loss in 2013 also came to Punahou, 24-14, in interleague play in week two.

Throughout the winter, Mililani’s returnees have been working out four times a week.

“They’ve been lifting and doing agility (exercises) and plyometrics to get ready for spring ball,” said York. “The kids have been focused, and we’ve set our day-to-day goals. We want them to always be focused on the prize and to see what lies ahead. At the same time, it is an everyday grind. The kids have been great. They’re working hard, and we’re going to kick it up even more during the summer.”

As in past years, York sees spring practices as a key component to his team’s prospects for the fall, as starting jobs are on the line.

“We use spring to find our best 11 guys (to have on the field at once),” he said. “It is an ongoing competition at practice, and it is that competition that improves our program.”

One area that should be a strength is on offensive, where nine starters return, led by quarterback McKenzie Milton, who threw for 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore.

“That (offense) should be the group that clicks the most,” York said.

Under OIA guidelines, the Trojans are allotted a two-week period to hold 10 practices. Spring practice also marks the first time teams can don full equipment and hold full contact drills, although York said they will tread lightly.

“We’re going to keep it (contact drills) light and go with shells (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts on the bottom half) the whole way through. We kind of know what we have, so we don’t need anyone getting hurt.”

Mililani’s annual Brown and Gold spring game is set for 7 p.m. June 7. While the team will limit contact in practice, the spring game will be a full-contact event, including kickoffs and with a referee crew.

Mililani also will offer a free youth football clinic at 5:30 p.m. the same day.

jackster.1969@yahoo.com

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