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Trojans Face Tough Season-opening Test Against Pac Five

Friday night’s home date with Interscholastic League of Honolulu foe Pac-Five won’t make or break Mililani’s season, but it should serve as an appropriate lead-in to the Trojans’ Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West sea- son.

The Mililani football calendar shows a key stretch on the immediate horizon with a game against Waianae at home and road dates with Leilehua and Campbell, which follows closely on the heels of Friday’s inter-league game with the Wolfpack.

“The emphasis for us — and we’ve talked about this with the kids — is on the regular-season conference games,” said Mililani head coach Rod York. “Those are the games that count and will put us in position for the (OIA) playoffs. We always want to win every game, but we want to keep working to get better every day so we’re ready for Waianae, Leilehua and Campbell.”

Even so, in Pac-Five, the Trojans will face a good challenge for Week One — especially the Mililani offense, in York’s view.

“Their defense has some Division I (college) prospects, and some of them have started since their sophomore year,” he said. “The name that jumps out is their defensive line- man/defensive end Titus Failauga. I’ve seen him play, and he runs well. They have some big boys up front, and they also have linebackers who can run. It will be a big test for us. We have our work cut out for us.”

Mililani put up big num- bers offensively last season, and quarterback Jarin Morikawa is back for his senior season after throw- ing for 2,597 yards and 24 touchdowns last fall.

Whether the Trojans can maintain the pace of 2011 could hinge largely on how well its offensive line comes through this fall. That will also likely be true of Friday night’s game with Pac-Five.

“Our offensive line versus their defensive line should be a great matchup,” said York. “We feel like our offensive line is very good, and it will be a matter of taking what the defense gives us. Our offense is explosive.”

In a recent scrimmage against defending DI State Champion Kahuku, the Trojans’ offense was slow- starting, but warmed up to the task to put together three scoring drives against what is largely considered the state’s stingiest defense. York liked the Trojans’ resolve as much as their execution.

“They didn’t do great in the beginning, but I liked the way they got on each other and finished out (the scrimmage),” he said. “The attitude of our team has been great. I like our team

unity. Watching the way we go about things, we look like we’re in mid-sea- son form. Now it’s a matter of getting mentally stronger, executing, and having fun at the same time.

“We’re happy with where we’re at and with where we’re headed,” added York. “We’re excited about the season. Running (and conditioning in practice) isn’t fun (for the kids), but the reward comes on Friday night when the lights go on and their friends and family are in the stands.”

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