Mililani's offense and defense were too much for Campbell

Nov. 18—The Trojans offense nearly matched its season average of 50 points per game, while Mililani's defense held the Sabers' offense well below its 41-point average for the runaway victory.

Mililani's powerful offense kept rolling and its defense was unexpectedly just as dominant Friday night in a 44-7 win over Campbell in an Open Division semifinal of the First Hawaiian Bank / HHSAA State Football Championships.

The Trojans offense nearly matched its season average of 50 points per game, while Mililani's defense held the Sabers' offense well below its 41-point average for the runaway victory.

"I have no idea, " Mililani coach Rod York said when asked how the defense held down Campbell's explosive offense. "We're just so thankful that they only scored seven. But it was the most stressful seven points that we ever gave up, because (Campbell ) is so dangerous. We got lucky a couple times, with the turnover on downs, the big one was the pick-6. It was just a game of momentum, straight momentum."

The Trojans defended their home field with an outburst on offense and stinginess on defense with three shutout quarters.

"We feel great, " York said about the win. "We're fortunate, we feel blessed. Hopefully we can take advantage. We're enjoying the moment, enjoying the opportunity."

Quarterback Kini McMillan led the Trojans offense with a game-best 272 yards and three touchdowns on 33-for-45 passing. He threw one interception.

"I only called one play. Kini's out there calling the plays, our defense is running their own thing. Our leaders lead our team, " York said. "That's the difference with this team, the leaders truly lead the team."

McMillan also ran for a game-high 67 yards on nine carries. Nakoa Kahana-Travis added 30 yards on seven carries and scored twice on the ground.

Nine receivers caught passes from McMillan. Makel Paiva led the way with 66 yards on eight grabs. Onosai Salanoa had 65 yards on five catches, including two touchdown receptions.

The Mililani defense forced a Campbell three-and-out on the game's opening drive. The Trojans offense did its part in turn, driving 60 yards on 11 plays to score the game's first touchdown. McMillan found Salanoa in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown pass. The Trojans led 6-0 after McMillan mishandled the snap on the 2-point conversion.

The second drive went much better for the Sabers offense. Quarterback Jaron-Keawe Sagapolutele broke free for a 56-yard run, setting up the five-play, 83-yard Campbell drive. Sagapolutele's 20-yard touchdown pass to Tainoa Lave capped the drive and gave the Sabers their first lead of the game at 7-6.

Mililani quickly regained the lead on the next drive, going 72 yards on seven plays. McMillan connected again with Salanoa for a 35-yard touchdown. McMillan ran in the 2-point conversion for a 14-7 lead.

In the second quarter, a Campbell punt went sideways and out of bounds at midfield. The Trojans needed just two plays and 39 seconds to cover the 50 yards. McMillan kicked off the drive with a 44-yard run, then Kahana-Travis finished it with a 6-yard score to make it 21-7 Mililani on what turned out to be the only score of the second quarter.

The Trojans drove 71 yards on 12 plays, taking more than five minutes off the clock to score on the opening drive of the second half. McMillan completed seven of nine passes on the drive, including the 8-yard touchdown throw to Davyn Joseph to give Mililani a commanding 28-7 lead.

Mililani's Kayden Thomas Anzaldo picked off Sagapolutele and returned it 42 yards for a score to give the Trojans a 35-7 lead.

"We've been a defensive team. ... Seven points, I never thought we would hold Campbell to seven points. The kids are playing well, " York said.

The final quarter began with back-to-back lost fumbles. Diamond Hanohano-Patashin recovered Joseph's fumble on the first play of the fourth. Sagapolutele fumbled two plays later, and Mililani's Tavanni Tafisi recovered. Mililani turned it over on downs on their next drive, but Sagapolutele fumbled out of the back of the end zone for a safety to give Mililani a 37-7 lead with less than 10 minutes to play. Mililani scored again on Kahana-Travis' 5-yard run to reach mercy-rule margin.

"We played some great football (this year ), and then we made some mistakes along the way. You've always got to take the good and run, " Campbell coach Darren Johnson said about his team's season.

Mililani advances to the state final for the first time since 2018. The Trojans will take on Kahukuon Friday at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

"It's gonna be exciting, " York said. "This is what everybody dreams about at the beginning of the year. Now we're here."