About two hours ago, Fred Ulu-Perry Jr. walked off the Aloha Stadium turf and up the north end zone tunnel for the last time as a high school football player.
Just before he stepped into the tunnel, his past became his future, like Dorothy opening the door to her colorful new world in the Wizard of Oz.
Ulu-Perry will be going to UCLA on a football scholarship this fall and right there to greet him with a hug and a handshake was an assistant coach from the team that just vanquished his Saint Louis Crusaders.
Yes, it was Dalton Hilliard, the former Punahou and UCLA running back.
“Great game, Bruin,” Hilliard said.
“Nice to meet you,” Ulu-Perry said.
Smiles all around, even from Ulu-Perry, whose Crusaders were eliminated in a dramatic 35-28 loss in the ILH playoffs. Saint Louis will not be going to the state tournament. Yet, Ulu-Perry, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound tackle who is projected to play guard at UCLA, was still smiling.
“It was a close game. They have great players,” Ulu-Perry said. “Our defense gave us a couple of chances to win, but we had some trouble executing the offense and didn’t take advantage of some turnovers. We had a great chance to win it.
“Their (the Buffanblu’s) defense was great. They brought the blitz and they covered our guys pretty good. I love playing against (Punahou standout defensive end) Canton (Kaumatule). He’s great, and he makes me great.
We’re always taking care of business (in the trenches). Hat’s off to him.
“Glory to God above. It’s time to move on. The season is over.”
And his college career is about to begin.