Kapolei head football coach Darren Hernandez has two seniors on his team that he describes as big, buff, ripped, and fast.
That’s pretty much what you want in a football player.
But their physical presence is not what stands out when you get to know the Robello brothers.
Sinai-Taheed and Zion-Jabez are twins, born three months premature.
“My mom gave us up to our grandparents, because she was sought unfit to raise us and I never knew my dad, so I grew up with my grandparents and them down in Waianae,” said Zion-Jabez Robello.
“My older brother, he said when we were young, he could fit us both in the palm of his hand. I’d say his hand was a little bigger than mine, but that’s still kind of small,” said Sinai-Taheed Robello.
Kapolei’s slotback and running back have beaten the odds and overcome so much, but the most important thing to know: they’ve done it all together.
“They’re brothers. They want to be the best, but they’re very protective of each other as well,” said Hernandez. “If one catches a ball, the other one is going to run down field at full speed and block for his brother. So they’re very close in that way.”
“Whenever my brother falls, I got his back. Whenever I fall, I know he’s got my back,” said Zion-Jabez. “We just got to stay together. If we go apart, we’re not going to get anything accomplished.”
The brothers were raised by their grandparents.
“It was real good, days getting up and having pancakes ready for you and just watching Spongebob all Saturday. It was pretty good,” said Zion-Jabez.
The twins haven’t parted since their grandparents passed when they were 11 and 12.
“When they left, it kind of taught us to grow up and do things on our own, like learning how to do chores, wash our own clothes, and just growing up,” said Zion-Jabez.
Their high school football career has been bumpy, playing on varsity as freshmen at Kapolei, attending Waianae, then Nanakuli. Now, they’re back to play their senior season as Hurricanes.
“Feels like we’re coming full circle. Know what I mean? Back to where we started. Finish it off senior year with a bang,” said Sinai-Taheed. “I would say the only struggle is the first week of school, getting to know everybody. But after that, it’s all good, because we’re nice people, so we’re easy to get along with.”
“They were raised right. They were actually raised in the church, and their faith is very strong, and that’s what keeps them afloat,” said Hernandez.
The brothers want to keep walking an identical path after high school. They’ve drawn some attention from the University of Hawaii.
“Like everybody else, just trying to get that golden ticket. We thought we had it, but we just left,” said Zion-Jabez. “We just think that it all should come together this season, and we should get it. Get to that goal and get to college.”
It’s always been the Robello twins taking on the world, and the world has thrown a lot at them.
“Being through a lot these past, actually our whole life, since we were born. We were the only ones together. Count on each other, support each other, and just chillax with each other,” said Sinai-Taheed.
“Kind of never alone, and it feels like I always have him to fall back on, and we’re always together wherever we go,” said Zion-Jabez.