Trojans Well Balanced For A Run At State Football Title
The Mililani offense has been much-celebrated in recent years, in large part because of a steady stream of talented quarterbacks.
That won’t change this year with senior McKenzie Milton in the fold. But when Mililani gathers for its spring game June 6, head coach Rod York is expecting the defense to be equally effective.
“I’ m excited for the defense this year,” said York. “Although we’re young, we’re experienced. Our super soph(omore)s are now seniors.”
Hopes are especially high for the Trojans, who delivered the school’s first state championship last November to cap off a 13- 0 season.
Mililani returns seven starters from a defense that yielded 18 points per game, and was especially stout against the run, yielding 120 yards per outing.
“We have two lockdown defenders, two great safeties, and our linebacker corps is young but vicious. Our defensive linemen have been so good that some days they ruin practice because we can’t block them,” said York.
Under OIA guidelines, schools are allotted a 30-day period in which they can hold 10 practices. Teams also are allowed to participate in full contact drills during the 10 allotted practices.
“We’ll see more when we get the pads on,” said York.
On the offensive side, Mililani’s statistics were off the charts last fall, led by Milton, who threw for 3,392 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also rushed for 808 yards. Last year, the Trojans averaged 42 points and 481 yards of total offense per game.
“McKenzie has gotten bigger, stronger and faster — he’s ready to go,” said York.
The Trojans also have added depth at quarterback with the return of senior-to-be Maka Chun, who was away from the program last fall.
Among the Trojans’ priorities for spring football practice will be rebuilding the offensive line, which lost four starters from 2014. York, a former lineman during his own playing days, said he will help tutor the offensive line this year.
“I love it. I’m an (work from the) inside-out guy. That is where it begins and ends.”
York also talked of developing leaders among his returnees, having been blessed with great leadership over the past two seasons.
“Leadership is a key in everything,” he said. “The kids have to be able to be followers, and that’s where leadership comes in. Often when no one is looking is when your leaders play the most important role.”
York’s off-season program has played a big role in the program’s success, and the Trojans had the look of a prototypical Mililani team during the winter months.
“Our training was just as it had been the year before when we lost it (state title game),” said York. “Winning (the state title) gave the kids more confidence. They know now that if they work hard, their hard work will pay off. We’re definitely happy with them. We have a lot to prove. We’re a young team.”
Mililani’s spring game begins at 7 p.m. The Trojans will then participate in 7-on-7 passing scrimmages during the rest of June and leading up to the official beginning of fall camp dur- ing the last week of July.