Kahuku meets Mililani in historic OIA Championship clash - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kahuku meets Mililani in historic OIA Championship clash

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

When the OIA football champion is crowned on the turf at Aloha Stadium on Friday night, it will be the eighth consecutive year that the trophy buses back to either Mililani or Kahuku.

"We're being billed as the best offense, they're being billed as the best defense, and that's what makes it exciting," Mililani head coach Rod York said. "There's a lot of drama in there, two teams going at it, and we're looking forward to the match-up."

On both sides of the ball, the statistics show that these teams have been historically good during their 2015 campaigns. Since 1975, no team has been able to score more points per game than the 2015 Trojans, while no team has ever allowed fewer points per game than 2015 Red Raiders.

"Everybody can watch film and scheme, but when it comes down to it, we're still playing their best eleven (players) against our (best eleven players)," Mililani senior receiver Kalakaua Timoteo told Hawaii News Now. "As iron sharpens iron, man sharpens man, so this will be a testimony to see how good our offense really is."

For Kahuku, the phrase "best eleven" has depended simply on whether or not his defense is on the field. Opposing offenses are averaging just 120 yards of total offense per game this season against the Red Raiders, including only 8.7 yards per game on the ground. 

"There's always room for improvement," said Kahuku head coach Vavae Tata. "There's always errors, little things that add up that might cause us to be off course. They're still high tempo, fast. They do the little things well and they will exploit you on defense, so we're trying to be fundamentally sound and do our jobs."

For Mililani, improvement has mostly been found in the play of freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel. Thrust into action after an injury to senior McKenzie Milton, the state's reigning offensive player-of-the-year, Gabriel has led the Trojans to consecutive playoff routs while throwing for 7 touchdowns and no interceptions.

"The only thing we had to work on with him was just the speed of the way he reads the plays, and reading the defense pre-snap," said Timoteo of his freshman quarterback. "But it's definitely easy when you have an offensive line like ours."

Little will come easy for either team on Friday night. The best in the best in the OIA take the field at 8 p.m. Tonight, with a championship trophy and bragging rights on the line.

"We're gonna be called on a lot," said Kahuku senior safety Keala Santiago. "It's gonna be a challenge for us, and we're ready for it. We've practiced all year long for passing just in case we challenge Mililani again, like how we do."

"The whole thing is to see who's the best, and compete, and we're honored to be in the game," added Mililani's York. "We're gonna honor them by bringing our A-game."

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