The Trojans capped an undefeated season on November 21 by overcoming defending champion Punahou, 53-45, to win the 2014 Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I football title. The triumph marked Mililani’s first state title in football over the same team that had beaten them last year.
The championship game had all the makings of an unforgettable matchup: two elite teams representing the state’s undefeated top seeds — No. 1 Punahou at 8-0 and No. 2 Mililani at 10-0. Both teams brought with them high-octane offenses with much-heralded underclassmen quarterbacks: juniors Ephraim Tuiloa for Punahou and McKenzie Milton for Mililani.
When all was played and done, the numbers were staggering: more than 1,200 yards in combined offense; Milton passed for seven touchdowns and 421 yards, while Punahou’s Wayne Taulapapa rushed for 260 yards. After three quarters of heart-stopping action, both defenses combined for a scoreless 4th quarter, with Mililani’s defense coming up with the biggest play of all.
On Punahou’s final possession with 2:47 left in the game, the Buffanblu drove more than 50 yards to Mililani’s 14 yard line. Punahou’s star running back, Taulapapa, took the ball 13 yards to the Mililani 1, when Trojan defensive star Ty Purcell-Apana knocked the ball loose, causing it to scoot out of the end zone for a touchback. The Trojans were able to run the clock out, triggering a frenzied celebration by the Mililani faithful, who were among the more than 19,000 fans at Aloha Stadium.
Horns blared throughout Central Oahu until the wee hours the next morning signaling a state football championship had finally come to Mililani. One can only wonder what 2015 holds for Mililani with three big playmakers on offense, all expected to return next year: Milton, wide receiver Kalakaua Timoteo and running back Vavae Malepeai.
In early December, both Milton and Timoteo gave their verbal commitments to the University of Hawaii for 2016.