One day, Shepherd Kekahuna was visiting the home of a neighbor,.
The conversation was about roots. His good friend, Aalona Monteilh, knows his family tree quite well, but as the background went deeper, Kekahuna asked questions.
“He was more interested in my family than I am,” Monteilh said.
The two seniors have played major roles in another highly successful season so far for the Roosevelt Rough Riders (8-1, 7-1 OIA D-II). The heartbreaking news, though, is that Monteilh injured his left knee two weekends ago and is done for the year. He will be putting his energy into boosting his teammates from the bench as he prepares for surgery to fix his ACL, MCL and meniscus.
Kekahuna, who shifted from safety to outside linebacker after arriving from now-defunct St. Francis, is making sure his teammates don’t let down after the season-ending injuries to Monteilh and also cornerback Joshua Maikui.
The timing was tough with Roosevelt’s revamped offense, brought over by offensive coordinator Anthony Monteilh from Saint Louis.
Kekahuna will get to play more offense in the playoffs. He got some offensive work in against Nanakuli with two receptions for 44 yards and one carry for a 2-yard TD.
At St. Francis last year, Kekahuna had 10 carries for 170 yards and two TDs, and a team-high 19 receptions for 406 yards and four TDs. At 195, he is 15 pounds stronger this year.
Monteilh’s range and athleticism will be missed on defense, and would have been a big plus to an already explosive offense.
For now, the two friends and former Papakolea basketball teammates are enjoying senior year. Monteilh chuckles when they talk about family. Kekahuna seems to know more about Monteilh’s deep roots than he does. Maybe.
When Monteilh was born, in the delivery room a song was playing on the system: “Don’t Know Much” by Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt.
“They were going to name me Analu (Andrew),” said Monteilh, whose first name is Aalona-Analu.
Kailipono, strength of the wind, is his middle name. But when the topic is his last name, Monteilh is always intrigued by the interest of curious friends. Kekahuna shakes his head and points at his friend when the subject comes up.
“My great-great-grandma was a slave in France. That’s how we got our last name,” Monteilh said.
What was her first name? He turns to Kekahuna.
“Grace,” Kekahuna said.
“This guy always asks my dad. But it wasn’t Grace,” Monteilh said.
“It was Grace,” Kekahuna insisted.
“She escaped,” Monteilh said. “My grandma is from Papakolea. My grandma went to college in California and met my grandpa. We have family in Arizona, Texas.”
Kekahuna has family in Italy. His mother’s maiden name is (Heather) Meditz. He counts at least six ethnicities in his bloodline. Monteilh has even more. It would make a fascinating travel show sponsored by a DNA company, perhaps, one day.
Both are close to their families. Kekahuna remembers being in his grandparents’ home as his dad (Jacob) worked long hours.
“All my coaches pushed me to where I am today. My grandpa (Joseph) taught me how to play football. My aunties (Mavis Kamanu, Julie and Jae Kekahuna) took care of me when I was little,” Kekahuna said.
Monteilh is set for surgery in the coming week or two. All the extreme emotions resulting from the injury are in action. He is handling it as well as could be expected. He is grateful. He says he’s been spoiled to an extent as the youngest of four children, as the only boy, but he appreciates his family above all.
“My mom (Helen) kind of took off work to take care of me,” he said.
Kekahuna and Monteilh chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Thursday.
Shepherd Kekahuna, Aalona Monteilh
Q&A / Favorites
Kekahuna: Tyrann Mathieu
Monteilh: Deion Sanders
Kekahuna: I don’t have a team. I like the Jacksonville Jaguars defense.
Monteilh: Philadelphia Eagles
Food at home
Kekahuna: Fried rice. My grandpa (Joseph Kekahuna) would make it.
Monteilh: My mom (Helen) makes the best fried chicken. I can make it.
Food eating out
Kekahuna: Taco Bell. The steak burrito and Mexican rice.
Monteilh: I like my chicken McNuggets with sweet-sour sauce. Or the double quarter pounder. Buy one and get the other for $1.
Kekahuna: Working out and training.
Monteilh: I like hiking. Maunawili and Manoa Falls.
Kekahuna: I usually watch Lord of the Rings with my grandma (Ana).
Monteilh: Remember the Titans. It’s me and my dad’s favorite movie. (Dad is Anthony.)
Kekahuna: Ridiculousness. It’s pretty funny. And Silent Library.
Monteilh: Wildin’ Out. My favorite is DC Young Fly. He’s funny.
Kekahuna: I don’t love Fortnite.
Monteilh: He plays all the time.
Kekahuna: I play once a week.
Monteilh: I tried it, but I’m trash. I hate shooting games.
Kekahuna: I play with people from everywhere. Saint Louis them. There’s a guy who has a $9 million contract to play Fortnite, and they stream him on a site.
Kekahuna: Probably 50 Cent. “Many Men.”
Monteilh: Biggie Smalls. “Juicy.”
Kekahuna: I like all my teachers.
Monteilh: Mrs. Kawakami. She teaches Modern Hawaiian History. I used to go to her with my problems. She gave me good advice. She gave me speeches to make me feel better. She was something special to me.
Kekahuna: English and Social Studies at St. Francis.
Monteilh: Hawaiian language.
Kekahuna: This year, I have straight A’s.
Monteilh: My current is 3.2.
Kekahuna: If God is for us, who can stand against us? (Rom. 8:31)
Monteilh: I don’t have one.
What your mom says that you can’t forget?
Kekahuna: “Shut the door.” — Heather Kekahuna
Monteilh: I’m kind of spoiled. Growing up, I’m the youngest and I have three older sisters, so everything was given to me when I was younger. I don’t give my mom any attitude so she doesn’t has to say anything constantly.
What does your dad say that you can’t forget?
Kekahuna: “Coming in!” — Jacob Kekahuna
Monteilh: “Pick up your shoes.” — Anthony Monteilh
What do your coaches say that you can’t forget?
Monteilh: “Get off the line.” When we run (sprints), people put their feet on the line and (our coaches) get mad.
How does football affect your life year-round?
Kekahuna: Summer time, we run every day.
Monteilh: I’ve been playing this sport all my life, so I’m used to it. We run the edge. Ten times to the 50, 10 to the 40, 10 to the 30 and so on.
Elementary and middle schools
Kekahuna: Stevenson (middle) and Pahoa (Elementary). I went to Windward Nazarene.
Monteilh: Stevenson and Nanakuli (Elementary), then I went to Makakilo.
Kekahuna: Hawaii Warriors. I was 6. Then Manoa Paniolos. That’s where all the athletes came out of. Jonah Panoke. I played basketball at Pahoa (PAL).
Monteilh: Kapolei Titans. Nanakuli Golden Hawks. I played basketball at Ewa. We played (basketball) together one year at Papakolea. I played one season of baseball at Manoa in seventh grade. I started when I was younger, but I quit. I didn’t like playing outfield.
Kekahuna: Florida, probably sixth grade. Vincent Terrell (of Punahou) and Dillon (Gabriel) (UCF, Mililani) was on my team.
Monteilh: I went to Florida. Shep went before me. Last year, we played on Maui in the (state) semis.
What is something you like to do that would surprise people?
Kekahuna: Strictly football.
Kekahuna: Probably go way back, back to Jesus Christ. I’d probably help him. Just experience it and see. I wouldn’t anything that might affect the timeline.
Monteilh: i’d like to see the Super Bowl, the Seahawks and the Patriots. Or the Eagles.
Kekahuna: Snowboarding. Try and experience something new.
Monteilh: I like skiing better. I’ve skied in Big Bear (Calif.). That was fun. I don’t know what to do in snowboarding. Skiing you have the bunny (hill). I was 13. That was cool.
Kekahuna: I’d probably visit France. See the Eiffel Tower. The Bahamas.
Kekahuna: Yeah, Vegas.
History and background of your name
Kekahuna: My auntie, who passed away when I was in elementary, she named me. That’s what I heard. Kahuhipa is my middle name. That’s Hawaiian for shepherd. I know my papa lived in Papakolea Homestead all his life. My grandma came from Kalihi.
Monteilh: Aalona is Aaron. My first name is Aalona-Analu. Analu is Andrew. I got my name from Aaron Neville, the singer. My mom was giving birth. That song came up when I was born. The song “Don’t Know Much.” My middle name is Keliipono, strength of the wind. I think my dad picked it. And then Monteilh. So, back then, my great-great-grandma was a slave in France. That’s how we got our last name. It’s French and Black.
HPW: What was her first name?
Monteilh: This guy always asks my dad. But it wasn’t Grace.
Kekahuna: It was Grace.
Monteilh: She escaped. My grandma is from Papakolea. My grandma went to college in California and met my grandpa. We have family in Arizona, Texas.
HPW: Your dad (Jacob) is Kekahuna. What about your mom?
Kekahuna: Meditz. That’s Italian. I have family in Italy. My mom’s dad, he has family in Italy.
HPW: Would you guys want to travel and research your family tree?
Kekahuna: That would be interesting.
Monteilh: Shoutout to my boys.My mom and dad, taking care of me.
Kekahuna: Shoutout to my coaches pushed me to where I am today. My grandpa (Joseph) taught me what I know about football. My aunties (Mavis Kamanu, Julie and Jae Kekahuna) took care of me.