Sunday, August 28, 2022 | By Nick Abramo
It looked like Campbell was about to pull away from Mililani on Saturday night, but the Trojans clawed back for a 35-34 victory at Kauinana Stadium.
Down by 15 points with 4:01 left in the third quarter, Mililani (2-1, 1-0 OIA Open) for the first time all night began to concentrate on the running game and it worked. Kingston Samuelu lugged the ball five times for 53 yards to set up Treston McMillan’s 4-yard touchdown run and 2-point pass to Gavin Hunter to cut the gap to 28-21 with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
“Kingston came in and sparked the run game and our O-kine blocked well,” Rod York said. “We made some adjustments and that was the difference-maker right there.”
Samuelu was at it again on the Trojans’ next touchdown drive that was set up by the first of two Jordan Fetu interceptions. This time, Samuelu gained 21 big yards on two carries, leading to a McMillan to Hunter 20-yard TD pass to knot it at 28-all with 9:41 to go.
Once again, though, Campbell (2-1, 0-1) got the upper hand, thanks to a Jaron-Keawe Sagapolutele to Rowen Bucao 33-yard catch and run TD. A missed extra point, however, made it 34-28 with 4:37 left and the door was wide open for Mililani.
All the Sabers had to do was come up with a stop and the game was over, but the Trojans found a way when Williams found Onosai Salanoa down the right sideline for a 41-yard TD before Makel Paiva kicked what turned out to be the winning extra point for the 35-24 edge with 2:18 remaining.
From there, Campbell could not pull through on two possessions. Fetu’s second interception — in the Mililani end zone after the Sabers drove to the Trojans’ 30 — appeared to be the final dagger. But a Mililani lost fumble in victory formation (a rarity at all levels of the game) gave the Sabers another chance, and after getting to the Trojans’ 42, they did not succeed.
The final play was a Sagapolutele deep pass to Bucao that was broken up by Hunter.
“Our kids played hard, and we’ve got plenty more football, plenty more season, so we’ve gotta get back to work and we gotta work harder,” Campbell coach Darren Johnson said.
Added Sabers receiver Jonah Togafau-Tavai, who finished with nine receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown: “For sure, we’ll need to be more ready next time if we face them again (in the playoffs). Watch more film, correct every mistake we had in this game and we’ll be good the next time we challenge them.”
Bucao also had a big night for Campbell, with four grabs for 121 yards and two TDs. And Sagapolutele wound up throwing for 336 yards and three TDs, but he also had four interceptions.
Fetu finished with eight tackles aside from his two picks for Mililani, and Hunter also made two interceptions. On the other side of the ball, McMillan finished with 273 passing yards and three TDs.
“It was a really good team win,” Fetu said. “None of us gave up when we were down and they (the Sabers) were gaining the momentum.”
For York, there seemed to be just a little sigh of relief afterward.
“We told ’em that the second half was all about heart and they came through,” he said.
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