Feature story on Keala Watson

About how he was banned from using the swings in the playground in his elementary school (he was 10 pounds at birth and was 5’10” and 200 pounds in the fourth grade), Keala Watson said:
“I broke a swing when I was in elementary school. It’s a tragedy.” (HA)

About how he was assigned to a special section as a student at Kaumualii Elementary on Kauai, Watson said:
“Everybody had a little orange chair. I had a big brown teacher’s chair at my desk. I guess there were perks. It was nice to have a big chair.” (HA)

About being 6′ tall in the 6th grade and 6’2″ and shaving as a freshman at Kauai High, Watson said:
“I was a man-child. When I was a freshman, everybody thought I was a senior.” (HA)

HA Note: “He transferred to Nanakuli High, where Leona — his classmate and future wife — also thought he was a senior. She realized he was younger when they were in the same world geography and Hawaiian classes the next year.”

About how he grew out his sideburns and grew a goatee as a senior at Nanakuli, Watson said:
“I had more facial hair than my teachers.” (HA)

About how when he was a freshman at UH, many people thought he was a senior, Watson said:
“My freshman year, on senior night, everybody’s parents were giving me leis. They thought I was a senior. It’s happened every year since I’ve been here. I always get a lei on senior night from random people.” (HA)

About how he assumed Watson was a senior last year, Josh Leonard said:
“The first time I saw him was my first day of training camp (last year). I thought he was, like, 25. I didn’t find out he wasn’t a senior until our first game (of 2007).” (HA)

About his Warrior career coming to an end, Watson said:
“I’ve had a lot of fun.” (HA)

About how he got more playing time in the Idaho game (and got 2 sacks!) because they played a team that ran the ball more, instead of the pass-oriented teams of their previous games, Watson said:
“It was frustration. I didn’t smell that much playing time in the previous three weeks going against passing teams. Now we’re finally back into that running mentality.” (HA)

Watson said that off the field he’s a youth leader in his church and is polite and respectful, but on the field:
“there’s a certain way to conduct yourself, especially for a defensive lineman. You really need that kick-butt mentality to be successful.” (HA)

About why he enjoys playing DT, Watson said:
“That’s where real men are born — in the trenches. I like playing football. It’s a way to channel the energy.” (HA)

About Keala’s personal foul penalty in the Idaho game, his wife Leona Watson said:
“We were surprised. My father-in-law was more surprised.” (HA)

Apologizing for his personal foul, Watson said:
“I shouldn’t have done that.” (HA)

Asked for the name of his son that is due in February, Watson said:
“I think it’s going to be a game-day decision.” (HA)

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