Castle QB Kela Shea Follows Family Football Footsteps

There’s an old adage that football isn’t for everyone. There can be no doubt that football is definitely for Castle quarterback Kela Shea.

In everything he does, his work ethic is his base. “I think I get it from my uncle and my papa,” said Shea. “Nothing comes easy without working hard. You won’t earn anything without it. I don’t like things easy. I like the challenge of football.”

For the bulk of his youth, Shea’s athletic focus was firmly on basketball, which he continues to play, but his progression to football was natural given his family connections. His grandfather, John Kapele, was a standout at Castle in the ’50s before moving on to Brigham Young University and, ulti- mately, to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Shea’s uncle, John Kapele Jr., also played for Castle and Saint Louis School before following in his father’s lead and moving on to BYU for his college years. John Kapele Jr. also was the head coach at Kalaheo for a time, and most recently was an assistant at Kailua for five seasons.

The family football focus is on Kela now. He enters Friday night’s Oahu Interscholastic Association crossover game 7 p.m. at Aiea with six starts under his belt dating back to last year, including Castle’s pre- season game with Kamehameha last weekend. Shea spent his first two years at Kailua before transferring to Castle on the eve of spring ball in 2011.

In Knights head coach Nelson Maeda, he found a coach who is also known for his own work ethic.

“He’s preparing us for life after high school,” Shea said of Maeda. “I like his discipline. He’s strict on discipline and respect, and he teaches character. I really like that.”

Shea hadn’t played organized football until enrolling in high school.

“I had played basketball during my whole elementary and intermediate days in the PAL leagues,” said Shea, who is the son of Kea Shea and Aulii Rosa. “Because of my uncle (Kapele Jr.), I always thought about playing quarterback. The footwork and fundamentals are kind of similar to basketball. Quarterback is a hard posi- tion, but I felt comfortable. To know the game mentally was harder.”

Shea has plenty of speed (he’s been clocked at 4.8 in the 40-yard dash), and Castle’s spread offense enables him to use his strong arm as well.

“I feel like I can do them both (running and throwing) equally,” he said. “When I have to run, I can run. I don’t try to run people over; I just try and get the yardage. Reading the defense is the challenge — some teams disguise their defenses really well.

“It’s like math class,” he added. “If you have the answer, everything can go well. For me, because of my family, it’s easy to be a leader, but I’m still working on it.”

Cohesiveness is invariably a lead characteristic of a productive offense, and Shea likes the team unity the Knights have developed from spring practice to now.

“I feel like we’re getting closer,” he said. “We’ve developed trust, and it hasn’t been hard to create that trust because everyone was already close.”