HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Mililani's balanced effort stops Farrington
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
With long-awaited steady execution on offense and defense, Mililani knocked visiting Farrington out of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association football playoffs Friday night, 33-6.
The Trojans (7-2) will face Western Division champion Wai'anae (6-3) in next week's Red Conference semifinals. Farrington, ranked No. 5 in The Advertiser's statewide Top 10 poll of coaches and media, ends its season at 6-3.
Mililani was the West's No. 3 seed but played at home against the East No. 2 seed Governors because Farrington's home field at Roosevelt was under construction, and also because the game was televised live statewide by OC-16, which requested the Mililani site.
The Trojans looked right at home from start to finish, performing at their highest level of the season.
"We really came together as a team, it was a team effort," said Mililani quarterback Rustin Funakoshi, who completed 14 of 18 passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns. "Every player has his own job to do, and tonight everybody did their job."
Starting with himself.
Funakoshi, a junior who struggled at times earlier in the season, got the Trojans moving after the opening kickoff and helped them take a quick 7-0 lead with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ikaika Payomo less than four minutes into the game.
Funakoshi engineered another scoring drive — 69 yards in seven plays — early in the second quarter, culminating in a 12-yard TD pass to J.R. Rosal. Colin Lund's extra point put Mililani up 14-0 with 8:53 remaining in the half.
Funakoshi was 8 of 10 in the first half, for 101 yards.
"Rustin's actually looked sharp the past three games," Trojans coach James Millwood said. "He had to learn a new offense this year and it took some time. I think he was thinking too much (earlier in the season). He had a lot of doubters, but we knew he could do the job."
The Govs, meanwhile, sputtered on offense and were forced to punt on three of their four first-half possessions. A fumble on the last play of the half ended their fourth series.
"We couldn't establish a rhythm," Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said. "Our quarterback (Elijah Filifili) didn't have a good night, and we had some timing mistakes."
In the second half, Mililani switched to an effective ground game led by running backs Jordan Torres (21 carries, 117 yards) and Isaiah Lawelawe (11 for 84). Lawelawe's 28-yard touchdown run helped give the Trojans a 21-0 lead midway through the third quarter. Funakoshi then connected with David Rivers on a crossing pattern from 13 yards out to make it 27-0 with 11:20 left in the fourth.
Okimoto said Mililani's balanced offense was a big concern entering the game.
"We felt they could give us problems, because they're throwing the ball more than they used to," Okimoto said. "Tonight they made the throws and they made the big catches, even when we hit them."
Torres' 1-yard TD plunge capped the Trojans' scoring with 1:11 remaining. Maeli Siliga returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to make it 33-6. But it was far too little, too late for the Governors.
Okimoto said it was "unfortunate" his team had to play on Mililani's home turf, but added, "We don't want to use that as an excuse."
Millwood acknowledged a home-field advantage, but said a bigger factor was his team's execution.
"Farrington had the top offense in the East, but our defensive staff came up with a great scheme and our defense stepped up," Millwood said.
FARRINGTON (6-3) 0 0 0 6— 6
MILILANI (7-2) 7 7 7 12—33
Mili — Ikaika Payomo 20 pass from Rustin Funakoshi (Colin Lund kick)
MILI — J.R. ROSAL 12 PASS FROM FUNAKOSHI (LUND KICK)
MILI — ISAIAH LAWELAWE 28 RUN (LUND KICK)
Mili — David Rivers 13 pass from Funakoshi (kick blocked)
MILI — JORDAN TORRES 1 RUN (KICK BLOCKED)
Farr — Maeli Siliga 80 kick return (pass failed) RUSHING — Farrington: Hercules Sula 8-39, Joshua Fernandez 4-29, Elijah Filifili 4-(minus-19). Mililani: Torres 21-117, Lawelawe 11-84, Funakoshi 7-6, Kala Perbera 3-23, Payomo 1-3, Zach Villanueva 1-5.
PASSING — Farrington: Filifili 8-23-0—116. Mililani: Funakoshi 14-18-1—150.
RECEIVING — Farrington: Siliga 1-36, Sula 2-5, Elijah Lesu 4-69, Fernandez 1-6. Mililani: Rivers 5-63, Payomo 1-20, Lund 3-23, Torres 2-23, Rosal 1-12, Lawelawe 1-5, Perbera 1-4.
Reach Wes Nakama at firstname.lastname@example.org.