Trojan Standout Aims For Another Football Title Run
Kaimana Padello made enough plays last fall for the Mililani defense to fill his own highlight film. Even so, his 2014 season left him feeling as if he still has some unfinished business to take care of in 2015.
“We had a wonderful season last year. It was great for our school and community, but I felt personally that I could have been better, and I’ve been working hard to improve myself,” said Padello, a defensive end and linebacker.
“I think each of us at every position has to improve for us to keep our spot.”
As in past years, the Trojans are sure to get every opponent’s best shot this fall after going 13-0 last season and delivering the school’s first-ever Division I state championship. Mililani also won a second-straight OIA Red title, its third in five years under head coach Rod York.
For Padello, it is all about the present. He made the weight room his home away from home during the off-season.
“I’ve been lifting two times a day to get stronger and get myself ready,” he said.
He’s hoping to continue his upward mobility after posting 17 sacks last year as a junior. Padello, who packs 210 pounds into a 6-foot frame, is quick off the ball and demonstrated his speed recently when he ran a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash.
“Rushing the quarterback is my specialty,” Padello said. “But I like both run (defense) and (defending the) pass. What I like most about football is the competition. I just like fighting in the trenches. Since I’ m also a linebacker, they use me on the edge, so I have to get faster.”
Padello had an immediate impact during his sophomore season when he cracked the starting lineup. Halfway through the 2013 season, he dislocated his elbow and was sidelined for several weeks.
Padello came back in time to play in Mililani’s semifinal win over Farrington at that year’s state tournament, as well as its loss to Punahou in the championship game.
Last season, the defense gave up 18.8 points and just under 300 total yards an outing.
Padello found his role model at home in older brother, Kelii “KK” Padello, who was the state’s sack leader with 19 as a senior in 2013.
“I’ve learned a lot from him,” he said of KK, who currently is playing for Southern Oregon.
Padello’s plan also is to play college football.
“I’m being looked at by some colleges,” he said. “I’m hoping to get a scholarship, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Watching other people who I’ve beaten get scholarships has given me the
motivation to get better and prove people wrong.”
Mililani wrapped up spring practice recently and will conduct summer workouts until the official beginning of fall camp during the last week of July. While OIA allows full contact during spring practice, the Trojans will not be allowed to suit up in pads again until a few days into fall camp.
“I have a lot to work on, so I’m glad I have this time for myself,” Padello said. “We’re just working on our plays, our technique and our craft.”
Among the highlights of the Trojans’ 2015 season will be a trip to Henderson, Nev., for a Sept. 4 game against Liberty High School.
(Liberty will be in Honolulu the week before to play Saint Louis School at Aloha Stadium.)
Mililani’s trip also will be a reward for a senior class that has compiled a 35-5 record over the past three years.
“There’s quite a few of us, we’re a pretty tight-knit group,” Padello said of Mililani’s seniors. “Guys like (returning quarterback) McKenzie (Milton) are leading us.
“I like the way we’re looking right now and the direction we’re headed in. I’m pretty excited and anxious.”