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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, October 26, 2002

Late touchdown carries Mililani over Nanakuli

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Mililani's Billy Barbour struggles to get by Nanakuli's Albert Distajo in their O'ahu Interscholastic Association tournament game at Aloha Stadium. Barbour rushed 18 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

Jeff Widener • Honolulu Advertiser

Mililani High School receiver Nate Adams caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Sean Fujimoto with eight seconds remaining last night to lift the Trojans to a 19-15 playoff victory over upstart Nanakuli at Aloha Stadium.

Mililani (6-3) advances to Friday's O'ahu Interscholastic Association quarterfinals against Red Conference-East co-champion Kailua (7-1). The Trojans finished third in the Red-West, but had their hands full with the White Conference champion Golden Hawks (6-3).

"Nanakuli played a great game, you gotta give them credit," Mililani coach James Millwood said. "They took a lot of things away from us and were successful in executing what they wanted to do."

Nanakuli immediately showed that it had come to play, with Kyle Beck returning the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. The Trojans tied it at 7 after Billy Barbour's 3-yard touchdown run with 2:32 left in the first quarter. Barbour, who finished with 148 yards on 18 carries, scored again on a 66-yard scamper with 3:57 remaining in the half, but the extra point attempt was blocked.

The Golden Hawks answered 27 seconds later with a 71-yard touchdown run by Ikaika Asinsin, who also ran in the two-point conversion to make it 15-13.

That's how it stood until Adams' winning touchdown catch, which came two plays after Barbour's 10-yard run on fourth-and-2 from the Nanakuli 26. Barbour ran for one yard up the middle on the next play, and then Mililani — with no timeouts left — lined up in its "I stack" formation using two receivers in an "I" set on the wide right.

"We showed the stack a few plays earlier, and we ran short plays out of it to see how they would line up, if they would stay up (close on the receiver)," Millwood said. "They did, and that's why we went for the end zone. If it was incomplete, then we would have gone for the field goal."

Adams ran a corner route to the back of the end zone, out-jumped a defender for the ball, and landed just inches inside the out-of-bounds stripe.

"I just concentrated on getting my foot down," Adams said. "They had very good coverage, but Sean put it exactly where it was supposed to be, and the line gave him time to throw. It was just one of those plays where everything worked."

Millwood said Adams was the right man for the job.

"He's been our go-to guy all year," Millwood said. "He's not the fastest or the quickest guy, but he runs good routes, has great hands and he's just clutch. We call him 'Fred Biletnikoff.' If there's anybody who can make that play, it's him."

The Golden Hawks returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 36 and had one final chance with five seconds remaining. They got 25 yards on a halfback option pass, but Albert Distajo was tackled at the Trojans' 39 as time ran out.

That was only Nanakuli's second completion of the game, as it relied mostly on the running of Asinsin, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound senior. Asinsin bulled his way to 172 yards on 19 carries.

"Our two middle linebackers are our best tacklers, but he was getting through them both a lot," Millwood said. "He was just pounding away at us."

NANAKULI (6-3) 7 8 0 0—15
MILILANI (6-3) 7 6 0 6—19

  • Nana—Kyle Beck 94 kickoff return (Ikaika Asinsin kick)
  • Mil—Billy Barbour 3 run (Whitney Shimatsu kick)
  • Mil—Barbour 66 run (kick blocked)
  • Nana—Asinsin 71 run (Asinsin run)
  • Mil—Nate Adams 15 pass from Sean Fujimoto (run failed)

RUSHING—Nana: Asinsin 19-172, Beck 14-22, Albert Distajo 10-28, Laga Savea 1-6. Mil: Peter Raneses 6-14, Barbour 18-148, Jose Santos 2-3, Fujimoto 4-(-12), Carlos Raneses 1-(-3), Aran Bisho 1-(-5).

PASSING—Nana: Distajo 1-8-0—16, Asinsin 1-1-0—25. Mil: Fujimoto 7-15-1—131, Barbour 1-1-0—0.

RECEIVING—Nana: Dominic Gomes 1-16, Distajo 1-25. Mil: Adams 4-55, Peter Enomoto Hahn 1-33, Barbour 1-0, Bisho 1-9, Santos 1-34.