HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Since 1975, no Hawaii high school football team has scored more points per game than the 2015 Mililani Trojans.
Few, if any, have ever boasted an offense with so many senior playmakers. But for head coach Rod York, therein lies the challenge.
"Anytime you lose leaders such as Kenzie (quarterback McKenzie Milton), Vae (running back Vavae Malepeai), Kala (receiver Kalakaua Timoteo), some of the other seniors, it's a big loss," York told Hawaii News Now at one of the team's spring practices. "But at the same time, it's exciting because you can find the next guy."
For York and his coaching staff, the search for the "next guy" is expected to carry into the summer at every position except quarterback. That's because sophomore-to-be Dillon Gabriel, who started for the Trojans during last season's playoff run, is already expected to pick up where he left off in relief of the injured McKenzie Milton.
"A lot of people have to step up. That's the main thing," said Gabriel. "People have to step up, like (receiver) Roman Tovi. I have to do my part, everyone has to do their part."
There will be plenty of opportunities this season for Trojan players to step up, and not just when it comes to the football field. The team's new leaders now have an exciting chance to fill the shoes of those that came before them.
"Our guys are definitely making the most of the opportunities," York said. "They got no other route. Either you bring it or you get out."
"All the returners are guys who say no days off, no hours off," added linebacker Aijalon Kolone-Falaniko. "They're grinding every minute, even in the classroom and on the field."
With three OIA championships in the last six years, the grind has paid off for the Trojans in the past. Their work this summer will determine whether another title gets added to the trophy case.