Kila Kamakawiwoole had a football journey that many Hawaii players aim to emulate.
He tore up the field at Kaimuki High School and went on to a career with the Rainbow Warriors, playing home games at Aloha Stadium.
In 2005, during his senior season at the University of Hawaii, Kamakawiwoole led the ‘Bows in tackles and sacks, and was an All-WAC second-teamer.
He’s also a father. His twins boys, Kila Jr. and Kalanikau, had a childhood many football-obsessed kids would envy: hanging out in the UH locker room and being the team’s ball boys on occasion.
“Man, there’s no words to describe that. Watching him play was unbelievable. It’s something I’ll never forget for sure,” said Kalani.
The tandem was born loving football.
“It’s pretty cool to witness this at a young age as a father. I just tried to instill in them what I learned from my high school and college years,” said Kila Sr.
“We started off at O-linemen, but later on he moved me to linebacker knowing that I had the ability that he had. It was just a blessing that he introduced it to me because I love it so much,” said Kila Jr.
One is a linebacker for Saint Louis, the other a D-lineman for Kamehameha, which is not how they planned it in youth ball.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play with him. Knowing that in high school, it’s not that, it’s heart-breaking for me. We always talk about playing together at the next level. Hopefully that dream will come true, play with him in college,” said Kila Jr.
“If we do play side by side again, that would be pretty dangerous. I’ll be grateful if we do play with each other at the next level. But if not, it’s all in God’s hands,” said Kalani.
The twins spare nothing when going head to head on the basketball court, but are generally laid back. They also put their heads together to share scouting tips.
“When we do try to talk, it’s more Mondays than it is Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, because he wants to give me tips on what other teams are doing and I give him tips on who they’re playing. So that’s how it works every week,” explained Kalani.
Except this week. On Friday, the Crusaders and the Warriors meet in an ILH rivalry game.
“We always set goals for each other each game. We always tell each other how many tackles, sacks, picks, or anything. We don’t like to talk smack to each other. It’s more confidence and boosting for each other,” said Kila Jr.
“Man, I’m going to bring so much energy to that game. This is one game I’ve been waiting for all season. Man, I can’t wait. Playing against my brother, man, I’m going to bring it,” said Kalani.
“Everybody asks me which side am I sitting on. It doesn’t matter what side we sit on. Everybody knows that our sons are on different teams. Both of them are on defense so whenever they are on defense, we are rooting for the defense,” said Kila Sr.
Their final high school regular season game will take place at Aloha Stadium, the same place they fell in love with the sport.
Only now, Dad is the one watching.