Entering week seven of the Hawaii high school football season, McKinley just got its first win, while Mililani has yet to lose a game.
Both these teams had a busy preseason, getting a glimpse of what football is like outside the country.
The McKinley Tigers recently hosted a team from Japan to spend a week scrimmaging and learning from each other, while Mililani took on the opposite role this summer when the whole Trojans team visited American Samoa.
“You can read about it. You can see pictures in social media and stuff. But it’s one thing to get there and experience it and feel it, smell it and taste it,” said Mililani head coach Rod York.
Besides the adventure of it all, the Trojans gained perspective, meeting with the governor and the next day practicing on fields with with frogs, rocks and broken glass.
Back at home, the Kosei Lotus American football team from Tokyo was in town for a week to practice with McKinley and share a team dinner.
“I think we all know the Japanese culture, what that’s like,” said McKinley head coach Pat Silva. “The discipline that you need to have. The work ethic. Having the right attitude. All those things come into play. That’s something that we’ve been preaching here at McKinley.”
The three time defending national champions in Japan scrimmaged multiple teams while they were here, hoping to learn from the size differential between their players and those from Hawaii.
Win or loss, the final box score didn’t matter. The experience of sharing the game of football with others was a victory in itself.