I had a chance to connect with Hilo High School senior, Keanu Keolanui the now famous Hilo High Viking kicker (#82) who kicked an amazing 55-yard field goal with just two seconds left on the clock at the state football championship game. I watched it live on Facebook and despite the blurry video, I felt all the tension and elation in that moment.
I first met Keanu years ago when he played soccer on the same team as my son and I am so happy to see that he has grown up to be not just an outstanding athlete who made the All-Hawaii First Team Special Team, but a humble and kind human being. Keanu is a man of few words as you see below but here are some of them.
What was the football season like this year?
During the beginning of the season, it was relaxed because our team was a high scoring team. Towards the ending of the season, it got tense for me because the competition got harder, making the field goals really count.
How did you feel going into the game to play for the state title?
Initially, I felt good about going into the game and very confident. We have a really awesome group of players and great support from all the Coaches.
When you were up to kick with 2 seconds left and you made it, how did you feel?
When the ball bounced in, I felt a combination of shock, relief and complete happiness.
You made HISTORY…..how does that make you feel?
It makes me feel very accomplished and proud to represent my family and our Hilo community.
Is it true that you are the only one on the football team that made it to the State Championship and won twice?
Yes, I am but I also did not play last year when they made State Championship game but lost.
Since you didn’t play last year, what or who influenced you the most to return to football?
I must say that my teammate, Fiki Aguiar talked me into returning to football. Other players did too but he was the most influential and also some coaches.
I can’t wait to see what is up next for Keanu!
Note: I have known Keanu’s mother, Ala, from Waiakea High School where she was my student. She has grown up into not just an amazing mama but also a hard-working and loving part of OK Farms here in Hilo. Stay tuned for an update on all the great things going on at OK Farms. Ala and I are setting a date so I can catch up on what is going on. It is so awesome to live in this town and watch and support our friends as they achieve awesome things in our community and in our world. Living Hilo Style.