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StarBulletin.com

Knight to remember


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POSTED: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shaydon Kehano is headed for the end zone every time he touches the ball.

A potent triple threat on offense, defense and special teams, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Castle senior does most of his damage at wide receiver in the Knights' spread attack.

“;I love making those touchdowns,”; Kehano said following a practice last Wednesday during Castle's bye week. “;Every time I know I'm getting the ball, I just tell myself it's either going to be a first down or a touchdown.”;

A Star-Bulletin All-State second-team pick on offense last year, Kehano has hit pay dirt in four of the Knights' five games this season, including a three-touchdown outburst in a 38-9 romp over Kaimuki on Aug. 28. Overall, Kehano has 24 receptions for 359 yards, including eight touchdown catches. He also does double duty as a ball-hawking free safety.

After opening the season with three wins and rising to No. 6 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, Castle's offense was contained in back-to-back losses to Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East rivals Farrington and Roosevelt, and the Knights tumbled out of the rankings. Castle enters the home stretch of the season at 3-2 overall (1-2 Red East).

Against Roosevelt, Kehano returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a score, hitting a seam near his own 20-yard line and racing untouched to the end zone.

“;(Kehano) has what we coaches call football speed,”; said Castle coach Nelson Maeda. “;He's so smooth that people don't necessarily think he's going all that fast, but he'll just take off.”;

Kehano's favorite player is Terrell Owens, and like his idol, Kehano's pass-catching ability and playmaking explosiveness have earned him admiration.

“;He's so sure-handed,”; Maeda said. “;You throw the ball in the general area (of him), and he'll go get it.”;

“;He's just a guy you can throw the ball up to, and he'll make something out of nothing,”; Castle quarterback Jaymason Lee said. “;When I'm scrambling and I see him, I just throw the ball up 'cause I can count on him to catch the ball.”;

Talent aside, Kehano is the anti-T.O. You won't see him dogging it on routes when he's not Lee's primary target. Nor will you spot him barking at a teammate or otherwise stirring up drama, on or off the field.

Kehano knows that when he's double covered, holes open up for teammates like burly senior running back Garrett Paredes or dynamic slotback Lowen Rogers, who he's known since the seventh grade.

Parents and teammates praise Kehano's quiet leadership style, and Maeda describes him as “;the type of athlete we want all our players to be at Castle.”;

“;He's not a real vocal guy, not a rah-rah guy,”; Maeda said. “;He just rolls up his sleeves, works hard and leads by example.”;

“;He's just a humble leader,”; Lee said. “;If people are getting down, (he'll) pick them up.”;

When Kehano does feel the need to talk, his teammates listen. Near the end of the midweek practice, the team grows chatty as they gather in the end zone for drills. Kehano silently assesses the situation for a couple of seconds alongside his fellow co-captains and then speaks up: “;C'mon guys, stop talking.”;

The talking stops. The drills begin.

Kehano was no secret coming into the season. As a junior, he had 13 scoring catches and racked up 38 receptions for 867 yards — averaging an eye-popping 22.8 yards per catch. He impressed OIA Red East coaches enough for them to vote him the division's 2008 offensive player of the year, despite the Knights' 4-5 record. Kehano also returned a punt and interception for touchdowns.

“;He earned (the award) because of what he means to his team,”; said Farrington coach Randall Okimoto, whose Governors are the only team to keep Kehano from scoring this season. “;We always make sure that we account for him. We'll put our best player on him. At times, if necessary, we roll coverage towards him.”;

Kehano is confident he can take his talent to the next level, confirming that Colorado, Washington and Washington State have contacted him.

“;I'm not that tall, but I can play slot in college,”; Kehano said.

Maeda agreed, saying that “;Shaydon is definitely a Division I prospect.”;

For now, though, Kehano is focused on the present. Castle — needing to string together wins to remain in the OIA playoff picture — faces McKinley at Roosevelt's Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium on Saturday.

“;We're going through a rough time right now with these two losses,”; Kehano said. “;This bye week hopefully gets us to that point where we work as a team and we come together, and after this we won't be losing any (games).”;