Mules And Trojans Looking Good At Season’s Mid-Point

The OIA Red Conference play-offs are coming into sight for Leilehua and Mililani. MidWeek’s Central Oahu Islander takes a mid-season look at both teams.

Leilehua Mules
Remaining schedule: at Kapolei Friday; at Campbell Sept. 21; Waipahu at home Sept. 28; Waianae at home Oct. 6.

Game to be on upset-alert for: Waianae. The Seariders have been mistake-prone, as evidenced by their seven turnovers early in the season versus Mililani, but they are still a physical team that can do some damage when they put it all together.

Key game: Campbell. The Sabers have been able to win the close games, and this shapes up as an even matchup.

At a glance: If an award was given to the defensive coordinator of the year, Mark Kurisu would be a prime candidate. He’s assembled a solid unit that has kept the Mules in the mix and allowed its offense the time to gel. The defense has given up just over 100 yards rushing per game through the first month against one of the toughest schedules in the state, including games with Service High (Alaska), Kamehameha and Mililani.

Offensively, the Mules do just enough to get the job done behind quarterbacks Justin Jenks and Levi Castanares. The short passing game has been its best run-game to date, behind the play of receivers Keoni Piceno, Josh Jenks, Ikaika Piceno and Nick Rodrigues.

Post-season projections: The sky is the limit for the Mules, who have all the ingredients for a deep run in the OIA playoffs and Division I state tournament.

Mililani Trojans
Remaining schedule: Bye this weekend; Kapolei at home Sept. 21; at Aiea Sept. 28; Waipahu at home Oct. 5.

Upset alert: Kapolei. A loss to the Hurricanes wouldn’t exactly qualify as an upset, but it is certainly a huge game for both teams, who have already suffered a loss in league play heading into last weekend.

Key game: Aiea. No team has been better than Aiea, defensively. This year Na Ali‘i are giving up almost nothing on the ground or through the air. As such, the matchup between Leilehua’s offensive line and Aiea’s defensive front seven figures to go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.

At a glance: The talk around the program has been about the offense and the play of quarterback Jarin Morikawa, but the defense has been stellar in its own right. Mililani is giving up only 75 yards rushing and only a little more through the air while showing physicality that matches up with any team in the state.

Offensively, the Trojans were humming along until they met Leilehua. Mililani was done in by turnovers but were still a play away from winning the game. In addition to Morikawa (10 TD passes), the Trojans are stocked with playmakers, including backs Dayton Furuta, Antonio Boies, Kamali’I Olayan-Keawe and receivers Ekolu Ramos, Kainoa Wilson, Erren Jean-Pierre and Colton Dayacos-Gaspar, among others.

Post-season projections: If the Trojans can play turnover-free, their ability to score points and to control the line of scrimmage on defense give them a chance against everyone.