Leilehua, Mililani Finally Could Collide In Football Playoffs

About the only thing missing from the impressive seasons of Leilehua and Mililani football teams was a game against one another. When the OIA restructured its divisions in the off-season, the schools found themselves in separate conferences and off of each other’s schedules.

A meeting between Leilehua and Mililani is a real possibility as the OIA playoffs get underway this weekend. (Pairings and matchups for first-round games were to be determined late Saturday.) The top six finishers at the OIA tourney earn berths into the state Division I championships. A look at the playoff prospects for both Leilehua and Mililani follows

Leilehua Mules

Record: 5-1 in the OIA Red, heading into last weekend’s finale against Kaiser

Wins: Kailua at home (50-7)

Aug. 16, McKinley at home (32-7) Aug. 22, Waianae (46-27) on the road Aug. 29, Castle at home (41-28) Sept. 5, Waipahu (45-0) on the road Sept. 12

Losses: Kahuku (21-14) on the road Sept. 26

Signature wins: Over Waianae and Castle

Offensive outlook: Leilehua has been efficient all season, especially out of the gate, as it outscored its first five opponents 74-0 in the first quarter. (Kahuku was the only team to keep the Mules out of the end zone in the first quarter.)

Leilehua is averaging 38 points per game and 369 total yards, with 289 coming through the air. Trigger man Kalanimoku Pauole (22 touchdown passes) made great decisions all season, and his receiving corps of Lauriano Lucas, Toma Savea, Tyreek Keough and Randy Neverson has done its part to keep the offense clicking. Running back

Ikaika Piceno (6.0 yards per rush) has provided some balance.

Defensive outlook: When it comes to shutting down the opposition’s run game, no team has been as consistent as Leilehua, which gave up a mere 51 yards per game. Ironically, one of its best defensive efforts came in the loss to Kahuku, when it held the Red Raiders’ vaunted run game to a minus-7 yards. All told, Leilehua is giving up 15 points and 154 total yards per outing.

Make plans for the state tournament if: The Mules’ defense continues to show up every week.

Mililani Trojans

Record: 7-0 overall, 6-0 in the OIA Blue, heading into last weekend’s game with Moanalua

Wins: Saint Louis (63-47) at home Aug. 16, Kailua (49-7) at home Aug. 23, Kapolei (41-14) on the road Aug. 30, Aiea (56-14) on the road Sept. 12, Campbell (57-28) on the road Sept. 19, Farrington (41-14) at home Sept. 27

Losses: None Key wins: Saint Louis, Campbell, Farrington

Offensive outlook: Mililani’s offense is well-stocked with game-changing performers, beginning with junior quarterback McKenzie Milton, who has thrown for 16 touchdowns (against just three interceptions) as of late last week. Milton also has nine rushing touchdowns and was the second leading ground gainer for Mililani during the season behind standout running back Vavae Malepeai (773 yards, 7.0 yards per carry, 15 TDs). Mililani receivers Kalakaua Timoteo, Bronson Ramos, Bryson Ventura and Kainoa Wilson have combined for 12 touchdown receptions.

The Trojans averaged 44 points per game in the regular season. Balance was Mililani’s forte, as it averaged 530 total yards a game — 287 on the ground and 242 via the air. Team explosiveness was perhaps best illustrated by its win over Campbell, when it outscored the Sabers 28-0 in the fourth quarter.

Defensive outlook: Despite heavy losses to graduation from 2013, the rebuilt Mililani defense delivered big this season to help stay the course and remain in the title hunt. The strength of the unit has been Mililani’s run defense, as it is giving up just 88 yards per game on the ground. The Trojans are yielding 280 total yards and 17.7 points per game.

Make plans for the state tournament if: The stellar Mililani offensive line can maintain its level of play. While it also plays great defense, it is the Milton-led offense that controls games. It all begins up front for this group. jackster.1969@yahoo.com