Q&A: Moanalua slotbacks Rudy Kealohi and Jansen York

Moanalua receivers Rudy Kealohi, left, and Jansen York have combined for more than 2,000 receiving yards this season with each player catching nine TD passes for the OIA Division I champions. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

There was barely enough time to breathe.

The day after Moanalua’s epic win over Leilehua for the OIA Division I football title, Rudy Kealohi and Jansen York thought about the unusual, but satisfying close to the OIA season. With three weeks of rest and preparation ahead, Kealohi will be able to recover from his injury.

>> CLICK HERE TO READ TODAY’S STAR-ADVERTISER FEATURE ON MOANALUA’S DYNAMIC DUO AT RECEIVER


Moanalua’s quick-tempo, aerial-heavy offense has been quite the fit for the two receivers. The slotbacks have combined for 152 receptions, 2,018 yards and 18 TDs. As a starting corps of pass catchers, the numbers are staggering: Kealohi has 84 catches for 951 yards and nine TDs; York has 68 receptions for 1,067 yards and nine TDs; Dacycres Domingo has 36 grabs for 435 yards, five TDs; and Lawson Lee is at 39 receptions for 406 yards and four TDs. They’ve done it with a first-year starter at QB, RJ Javar.

Moanalua (10-1) has not had a group quite as productive as this during the state-tournament era, but there have been a number of similar performances. Jason Sharsh and Chad Aragon combined for 126 receptions, 1,720 yards and 16 TDs in 2013.

In ’16, Ryan Ramones and Rylan Miguel combined for 129 catches, 1,622 yards and 21 TDs with Alaka‘i Yuen at QB.

Receivers coach Jon-Michael Sharsh enjoys coaching this group.

“When Rudy came in, it was one of our quickest transitions from JV to varsity. He’s probably one of the smartest football players I’ve ever coached. He’ll put everyone in the right position. I can literally have conversations with him while he’s running his route,” Sharsh said.

York made a quick transition after transferring from Mililani in the offseason.

“Jansen’s smart, but he’s still learning, still understanding the system. He came in, he’s a freak. His route running, his big-play factor. He can take a 2-yard slant into a 90-yard touchdown. He runs like a 200-pound running back and is tough to bring down,” Sharsh said. “He reminds me of Sheldon Pagba. He played with me my senior year.

Kealohi and York chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Sunday.

Jansen York, Rudy Kealohi
Moanalua football

Q&A / Favorites

Athlete:
York: Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens). They beat Seattle and he had over 100 rushing yards. Before him, it was Golden Tate. When he was in Seattle, it was fun to watch him play. He wasn’t the biggest guy, but he always showed out.

Kealohi: I like Antonio Brown and Julian Edelman. I’d ask (Brown) to show me how he runs his routes. He’s one of the best route runners, him and Chad (Johnson) Ochocinco. Edelman makes plays, a big-time playmaker. How I run certain routes, I try to copy him because he runs them perfectly.

Team
York: Baltimore Ravens. Since 2011, because of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.

Kealohi: Pittsburgh Steelers. Most of my family are Steeler fans. I have a couple of signed Troy Polamalu jerseys.

Food at home
Kealohi: My mom (Sandy) makes baked salmon with furikake on it. I can’t make it, no ways.

York: I like the grilled chicken and rice my dad (Doane) makes. It’s Walmart chicken. We just heat it up on the stove.

Food eating out
Kealohi: After games I like to go to Jack in the Box. I like the Munchie Meal. Two tacos, regular fries or curly fries, and the chicken tater melt. It’s like a croissant bread, too.

York: Taco Bell. I like the Chalupa Cravings meal. I like the steak chalupa. There’s cinnamon twists.

Hobby
York: I like working out in the off-season.

Kealohi: I like to chill with my friends and play games.

Movie
Kealohi: I like superhero movies. I like all of them. Super-villains, too. I like the Flash.

York: Christmas with the Cranks. It’s Jamie Lee Curtis and the guy who played Santa Claus.

TV show
York: The Office. I’ve seen every episode twice, probably more. My sister (Arianna) does a good Michael Scott impression.

Kealohi: The Flash. It’s on CW (Network). It’s an interesting storyline.

Video game
Kealohi: Madden or (NBA)2K. I like playing Madden, especially against friends. We played in (Las) Vegas during our trip. The best players are probably Cyrus and Yams (Ethan Yamamoto)

York: I like Madden, too. We played each other twice. We’re tied. I use the Ravens.

Kealohi: I use the Steelers. I think I made Lamar fumble before. I spy him with Ryan Shazier. We were using (Madden) 19.

Music artist
York: Chance the Rapper and Drake. I listen to (Chance) in pre-game and stuff.

Kealohi: I like Lil Baby and J Cole. I like their music. Lil Baby’s music gets me pumped.

Teacher
York: I’d say my mom and dad since I was home schooled. I had only three hours of school a day (until high school). We take these tests every six months and my brother always took those. I always had friends in my neighborhood, but being in a school, I can make more friends, I guess. The bad thing is, school is way longer and I have homework, too. Home school is one on one, too.

Kealohi: It would’ve been cool if I had home school. My mom would’ve been strict. Mrs. (Lori) Mizue was my favorite teacher. Now she’s a principal at some elementary school. She was my homeroom teacher. She always kept me on top of things and she made sure my graders were good because she knows I’m an athlete.


GPA
York: My cumulative is 3.5.

Kealohi: My GPA this quarter is 3.0.

HPW: Did you take your SAT?

York: I took mine a couple months ago.

Kealohi: I took the ACT.

Class
Kealohi: I like Auto Tech.

York: Math. I like Algebra II, but I’m in Trig now.

Motto/scripture
Kealohi: If size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle.

York: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Pr. 3:5-6)

What mom always says?
York: My mom (Wendy) says treat everyone how you’d like to be treated.

Kealohi: She (Sandy) always makes sure I’m on top of my grades.

What dad always says?
Kealohi: (Rodney) always tells me, ‘Good job.” He’s proud of me.

York: He (Doane) always says try your best and always give it to the Lord.

What your coaches say?
Kealohi: Our receivers coach, Jon-Michael Sharsh, He just tells me to be the best player I can be. He knows I’m playmaker. He motivates me. He runs routes with us all the time. It’s way better for him to show us the things instead of telling us. It helps us learn better.

How does your sport affect your offseason?
Kealohi: Usually, we lift Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Fridays, we run routes. I used to play basketball. This year, I don’t know.

York: I run track, and we lift and get back in the grind.

Middle school and elementary
York: Home school.

Kealohi: Aliamanu Middle and Elementary.

What youth sports did you play?
Kealohi: My first sport was baseball. I played for Lakeside. I liked football better. I played basketball at Lakeside, too. I played flag football and then tackle football in sixth grade for Aiea Eagles, and then I played for Palama Scorpions, and Central Razorbacks. I played a lot of different positions. I didn’t really focus on receiver until I got to high school.

York: I started with basketball in the MCAA league. The Nuggets. I played for a year or two. I was short and everyone got tall, I really couldn’t do anything. I liked football better. I played flag football in PAL and i9. I was playing receiver pretty much the whole time. I started playing tackle in sixth grade when we lived in De Moines (Wash.), about 15 minutes away from Seattle. There’s a lot of nice people over there.

What was the trip to Nevada like in preseason?
Kealohi: It was a good experience. I was getting super nervous because in the beginning of the game, Jansen got hurt. He landed on his head. I got my career high. My body was so drained.

(Note: Kealohi had 13 catches for 198 yards and two TDs against Sierra Vista.)

What’s something you’re good at that might surprise people?
York: I guess I’m good at math. Trig is hard.

Kealohi: I can do some mad card tricks.

Time machine
York: I’d go back to 2008 and see my grandma (Carol Lee). I was kind of young. She was the best. She was so kind and always doing everything for the family and kids.

Kealohi: I’d go a five years back before my grandpa (Rudolph Kealohi) passed away. He passed away last year. Both my grandparents used to come to all my games.

Bucket list
Kealohi: I just want to end up living here in the future, but I want to travel and explore around the world. Alaska would be pretty cool. I’ve never seen snow before. I would like to live on the mainland and experience it for a couple of years.

York: Maybe visit Japan or Korea or something. The culture is so different. My mom’s side of the family is there (in Korea).

History of your name
York: One of my dad’s good friends from college is Jansen. My middle name is Lee-Akito. Lee is my mom’s (maiden) name. All of us kids have Lee in our middle name. Akito means sunshine or something. York, my dad is French, English and Mexican. My mom is Chinese, Japanese, Korean. I’m pretty sure she said Okinawan, too. I think my mom said my grandma and grandpa didn’t want them together, so they ran away.

Kealohi: My first name is Rudy Vincent. My grandpa’s name was Rudoph. When I was a little kid I was kind of sad because my sister’s name is Rodlyn, my brother’s names are Rodney and Rodson. They were going to name me Rodger, but my dad wanted me to be named after my grandpa. My uncle’s name is Rory Vincent. My middle name is Kimokeo. I’m not too sure what it means. My grandparents are from Kaneohe. My grandparent grew up in Roosevelt area. I don’t know my great-grandparents names, but I know their ethnicities. My dad is half Hawaiian, and German, Irish and French, or something like that. My mom’s side is Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese and Portuguese.


Shout outs
York: I want to shout out my cousin, Kyle Ichikawa. He comes to my games.

Kealohi: My family and my girlfriend, Tayli (Ikenaga). My family comes to my games. My uncles and aunties. I can definitely hear them and my mom. My dad is chill. My mom is always yelling. When I got to high school, my teammates said, “Your mom is so nice, she’s always cheering.” I appreciate her and my family. And shout out to my boys.

COMMENTS

  1. WENDY February 8, 2020 1:22 pm

    WONDERFUL INTERVIEW IN THE STAR ADVERTISER OF JANSEN YORK & HIS BUDDY RUDY KEALOHI


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