Ulufale has career day with broken hand

Pac-Five senior AJ Ulufale rushed for 158 yards, cracking the school's top-10 single-game list, with a broken left hand. Photo by Christian Shimabuku/Star-Advertiser.

AJ Ulufale left it all on the field on Saturday at Kozuki Stadium.

The Pac-Five senior, who has taken turns at wide receiver, running back and quarterback for the Wolfpack this season, rushed for a game-high 158 yards on 29 carries in a 34-0 loss to ‘Iolani.

He did so with a cast on his broken left hand. Doctors told Ulufale not to play, but he didn’t listen.

“This might be my last time playing football and I’m not gonna quit on my teammates,” Ulufale said. “I did everything I could for my team.”

Ulufale injured his hand in a Sept. 23 matchup against St. Francis while playing quarterback. It’s limited him to running back, although he is still the team’s leading passer with 373 yards and three touchdowns. He also has six receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns this season.

His 158 rushing yards are eighth-most in school history in a single game. Only two players (Keoni Tom-Millare, Shandon Augustus) have rushed for more yards in a Pac-Five uniform since 1983.

The Wolfpack (1-7, 0-6 ILH Division II) enter Friday’s playoff matchup against Damien as heavy underdogs, where Ulufale will be counted on again for another workhorse performance.

“He’s a warrior. He played with that big cast on his hand and he was getting hit and just kept on playing,” Pac-Five coach Kip Botelho said. “That’s the kind of kid where we wish we had more of him.”

The Wolfpack have been undermanned all season. Ulufale was forced to play quarterback after Tyler Fukuroda suffered a season-ending injury.

Pac-Five forfeited a game for the first time ever, against Damien last week, but came back to give ‘Iolani a game before the Raiders pulled away late.


  1. officer kanahele October 8, 2017 10:12 pm

    Ulufale is another true nanakuli hawk..He lives 1 block away from nanakuli high…Why didnt the hawks keep him home.So sad that another kid from the valley choose other then to defend it.COME ON NANAKULI STAFF.keep the kids home stop making so many excuses why you cannot do this and that.You blaming the parents for choosing for the kids.So many stories every year why kids leave.Do what ever you gotta do.I mean do WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep studs home.#iknoblamethekidsforleaving#

  2. westside October 9, 2017 6:26 am

    GOOD job ulufale humble kid that works hard day in day out.Another kid from the valley that shines on other team.#nothawksbebe#

  3. ROGGECUARIAMA October 9, 2017 9:23 am

    Happy to call this boi my brother even tho we aren’t even related. Ever since I knew AJ his been the most respectful kid i know never seen him talk back to his mom and goes out his way to help others. Much love bro wish you the best mai braddah……

  4. Mr.HAWK96792 October 9, 2017 12:10 pm

    In regards to why kids from Nanakuli go to private schools may be a no brainer, but education plays a big part of kids going to Kamehameha, St. Louis, Damien, Pac-5 etc.
    I think besides those reasons if you are a true Nanakuli Hawk you need to stay home and play for your geographical school. Many parents take their kids to other schools (Kapolei, Waianae) looking for greener pastures thinking their child will succeed often get a dose of reality check. Nanakuli is a school with less than 700 students. How do you compete with schools that have 1,500 to 3,00 students? Who is left to play or who has the heart to play? Officer Kanahele totally comes across to me like a couch coach who has an issue with the Nanakuli coaching staff. I personally know several members of the staff that are not only excellent coaches in their respective positions, but who are building life lessons for after high school. A true “Nanakuli Hawk” is not just a resident of the area or an athlete, but a community contributor who goes above and beyond his or herself. One who perseveres through adversaties and strives to seek the highest. They may not win any games, but do you want to teach your child to enter an already championship caliber team or make a struggling team a champion? I rather have my child attend a school in hopes of making them a champion.

  5. Officer Coach October 9, 2017 2:01 pm

    First of all, congratulations to AJ and the Ulufale family. AJ deserves the recognition he’s been getting, nothing beats hard work and dedication and it shows. The Ulufale children have done good things for themselves, their family, their respective schools, and even their community, and they’re not done yet. This is primarily due to the strong family upbringing that they have.
    Secondly, we should be proud of our children who venture outside of Nanakuli to different private schools. Its human nature that we think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Because of that, parents have various reasons for sending their kids elsewhere, ranging from better education, better resources, and better possibility for exposure. Whatever the reasons, believe it or not, the final decision rests with the parents. As a parent, if I wanted to send my kids to another high school other than Nanakuli H.S., no one can tell me otherwise, not even the coaches.
    As a coach, I feel Officer Kanahele was wrong when he stated that the coaches should do “whatever it takes” to keep the children home, as if it’s the coaches’ fault. I have spoken to many parents over the years to keep their kids home, but they are doing what they believe is best for their child, and we should respect that. Officer Kanahele, if you wish to meet up one day and discuss the solutions that you may have that could be implemented on the coaches’ level that could help keep our kids home, please let me know. And well said Mr.HAWK96792
    At the end of day, no matter what school our valley kids go or what colors they wear, they will always bleed Black and Gold, and for that we should be proud! Congrats again AJ!
    Officer Coach

  6. Westside uso October 9, 2017 8:31 pm

    Mr hawk and officer hawk….If u all going make same excuses year in year out then this is the result u going get a 1 win or 2 win season.The true reason kids no stay cause YES the grass has been greener on the other side.Every year always making excuses telling everybody that its alright that kids leave and they always going bleed black and gold crap.Im sick of people being alright with that and make a change now.Somebody on staff gotta do something its your program and be on that and go get the kids.Or you guys too good and too much pride.Well I hope u guys pray for the division 3 so u guys can challenge kalaheo and anuenue and be happy beating sad programs.I gaurantee if u end up in D3 no top kids going stay home cause the Red division is the only way to go….#toomuchpridegottagoD3#

  7. nanarider October 9, 2017 8:40 pm

    GUYS this is 2017 and the game went change so all you nanakulians got to adjust to the new system.If u cannot keep your kid home and you cannot recruit you cannot win.U all cry about only having 700 kids so wat make due and do something.Get enough kids for make a run.This is the new age so if u guys cannot recruit cause u shame and think thats dumb good luck getting smoke job every week.Was shame for see nanakuli scoreless on senior night.Or loss on homecoming this year.My kids are in 8th and 7th grade and are football players and Iam not keeping them in the valley sorry….

  8. Mr.HAWK96792 October 10, 2017 6:31 am

    Uso and Nanaride, you speak like you’re doing something for the community? Excuses? Recruit? That exact reason, “oh! My kids are in the 7th and 8th grade I’m taking them elsewhere!” mentality is why kids don’t stay home. Recruiting is against DOE policy which got enforced and actually got more critical since the Kaiser debacle in 2013. Your kids better be good athletes or they’re going to bench at another school and with your attitude as a parent I pity your kids. Uso, if kids and parents are shallow like your attitude then by all means Aloha. Stop being a couch coach and do something with your community. Go sacrifice your time and coach maybe flag football or do a beach clean up, feed the homeless, but whining and thinking as a coach you can force yourself on parents don’t work. Kapolei, Waianae, great kids but lately how many championships? Hernandez looks mainly to push kids to college for a better life and even with all that talent, nothing. So before any of you talk about recruiting, forcing parents to keep their kid at Nanakuli, wake up and smell the coffee. This is 2017!

  9. Hawaii October 10, 2017 8:22 am

    Let’s not take away from the purpose of this article. Great job AJ!

  10. Maka October 10, 2017 8:23 am

    You the man AJ! Too bad touts had to forfeit one game. But way to finish.

  11. Officer Coach October 10, 2017 9:02 am

    I previously stated that parents BELIEVED that the grass is greener. Nanakuli affords the same college prep courses and resources as any other high school. In the past 7 years football players from Nanakuli H.S. have been playing on the next level (including D-1) at record numbers. In fact if you attended the 2017 Nanakuli graduation you would’ve saw the record number of athletic scholarships given to all the student athletes.
    Like i said before, parents are going to do what they feel is best for their child however it appears that the parents making comments are the ones making excuses.

  12. Jackie Ku October 10, 2017 9:50 am

    I know AJ does his best for the team and does it very well. Yeah he is at a private school doing what he was taught home here from tha Valley of a Nanakuli raised by his mother and family. Yes he would have been a promising athlete on our home field. He choice was granted and that is where he’s at today. So Officer Kanahele. Don’t blame our coaches for letting good athletes leave our community. It is not their decision it’s the parents. Further more. AJ supports his community football team vs watching his cousins at other school game. Just to let you know our head coach is a close friend of AJ Ulufale Ohana.

  13. Jackie Ku October 10, 2017 9:53 am

    GoodJob AJ. We LOVE you

  14. officer kanahele October 10, 2017 10:39 am

    Mr hawk and officer hawk….way to go good job with your 1-7 team.you feel so proud of that and happy that your moving down to white and go play teams like waialua and kalaheo.So sad.You guys talking bout sending kids to d1?hello you guys only sent tuiloma to colorado?And thats why u guys not going win cause no kids go D1 and you guys cannot compete in red and thats the Fact.Kids like win and their family and parents like win so the bottom line is if u dont win kids not going stay and kids not going play…tired of the excuses just play ball and win some games

  15. helelua October 10, 2017 10:43 am

    The 2 brothers from nanakuli spanked u guys..#5 &#2 from kapolei is nanakuli breed kids.Glad they went kapolei and toilolo too..NANAKULI coaches suck

  16. alumni October 10, 2017 10:56 am

    Just win nanakuli thats all

  17. Officer Coach October 10, 2017 12:12 pm

    You’re right about one thing, “it’s a fact”, not an excuse, its hard to compete at the D-1 level for any school. You should be proud that Nanakuli boys are competing and competing well at that level. But it seems that you lost sight of the subject at hand, keeping kids home. I offered you the opportunity to come up with solutions that you as coaches (I’m assuming you’re a coach, Madden doesn’t count) could help keep the kids stay home. Everybody wants to win but there are other intangibles to coaching. Making it to D-1 is an honor, and yes, staying there takes a lot of work, having kids stay home would be an asset. Help come up with solutions not finger pointing.

  18. Blessingstoyou October 10, 2017 12:16 pm

    Wow..way to go people! You managed to take an awesome highlight of a talented boy from Nanakuli and turn it into a chest bumping, blame game. No matter where our kids are..we should support them! I for one am proud of AJ..his ohana is close friends of ours and whether he played for Nanakuli or PAC-5..he represented Nanakuli well! That is what should be highlighted here! One thing that stood out from the article is when AJ said he wasn’t going to leave his teAm hanging..that is a lesson we should all take. His team lost and battled on the field, losing without a score..and yet he still pushed through and showed true heart out there! Maybe we should all take a lesson from AJ and push through, even when Nanakuli is down.

  19. Officer Coach October 10, 2017 12:17 pm

    Truth is #2, 5 and 26 have roots in Helelua but now live in Kapolei and Makakilo, so they are going to their district school, which is where they should go!

  20. KAHUKU PRIDE October 10, 2017 1:31 pm

    You guys get issues in the valley….if i lived there i would go waianae hands down…RR4L

  21. tha wizard October 10, 2017 1:41 pm

    Yeah they might live there now but the sad thing is nanakuli wasnt even a option for them.Not even a thought was in there mind to come play for the hawks.toilolo left st louis and nanakuli his hometown wasnt even a option to play for hawks…..so sad.U make excuses that he live in makakilo?How easy it is to use a family address to play for the hawks?too easy common!maybe u should win so when times like this come around kids like play and stay home…..Wait ohh wat excuse now?jus win games in red not white and maybe something will happen.#justtellingthetruth#

  22. HappyGoLucky October 10, 2017 3:27 pm

    Why so much animosity in da valley? Sounds like parents going send their kids where they like. Congrats AJ on your season, keep up the good work!

  23. Team Hawaii October 10, 2017 4:49 pm

    Agree with blessings. Y’all are taking away from the positivity this article generates. A young man overcomes adversity and has an outstanding performance on the field. Then here comes the comments of this and that. No matter what, there will always be critics on the decisions we make. Plenty of people go after opportunities. Take Nanakuli head coach Watson for example. He’s from Nanakuli but a graduate of Kamehameha and he’s back in his home town serving his community. Where’s the other community guys that are willing to step up?! Again, y’all are focusing on the one of few challenges out of all the positive things that are happening. If Nanakuli wins, they’re heroes. If Nanakuli loses, they the most hated people. So what?! Keep doing your thing because at the end of the day, the people who sacrifice their time to be on field and mentor the youth of the community are the ones the students will remember. Not the people who continue to shout hate on online article comment sections. Again, congratulations AJ Ulufale! You did a great job and are making countless amount of people proud. Nanakuli, great job and good luck in your future!

  24. maktown October 10, 2017 7:58 pm

    HAWKS you guys get some majah problems but u know what we going take care the youngest of the ulufale brothers…thankyou hawks………………Searidernation………Here we come we take you no problem….

  25. AJ'S AUNTY WHO LOVES HIM October 10, 2017 11:10 pm

    AJ is an awesome student athlete and that is due to the support and love of is mother, his Guardian Angel (Dad), ‘Ohana, and with God’s grace. The coaches who have mentored him continue to support him till this day! Coaches from different communities, schools, coaches who freely gave of their time and self! Awesome job AJ!! Continue to push forward!!

    Unreal how this article went from AJ’s success to hating on the football coaches of Nānākuli High &Intermediate School.

    FYI-Nānākuli got heart and pride for our keiki, school, and community. If you can’t see that then you not from Nānākuli. That’s for damn sure. Instead of attacking our coaches and football program then please come and share your thoughts and ideas, come and help us help our kids! Your negative comments are not helping anyone let alone showing your intelligence. Parents have the choice to send their child to which ever school they choose. Who are you to question their decisions? You don’t pay their bills, tuition for their child, etc. Win or lose, we back our kids and our coaches. You from the Valley, no matter what school you attend, the Valley supports you. Seeing our children succeed is what matters!!

    Kulia I Ka Nu’u!!

  26. Semeri ulufale jr October 11, 2017 9:56 pm


  27. maktown October 12, 2017 11:05 am

    Yah you….semeri ulufale can’t wait till we see u in the red & blue..searidernation welcomes you boy.We been waiting for you since pop warner days…

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