HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Punahou standout running back Vincent Terrell, Jr. learned the game of football the way most young men do: from his father.
But unlike many of his teammates, when Vince started his high school playing career at Punahou, his mentor wasn’t among those watching from the bleachers.
Vincent Terrell, Sr. recently returned from active duty overseas after stints in Seoul, South Korea and Anchorage, Alaska, where he’s served as the Deputy Commander for the Pacific Regional Support Center.
Vincent, now a senior running back for the Buffanblu, was just a freshman in high school when his father was first deployed.
“It was rough," said Terrell, Jr. "You are in a time where you are trying to figure out who you are, and the male role model in your life is kind of gone. I had to learn to step up for the family, I had to take over some of his jobs, and really it help me mature into the man I am today.”
While his father has been away, Vincent has grown into more than just the 'man of the house’ ― he’s also become one of the best running backs in the state of Hawaii.
Earlier this year, Vincent Sr. was stationed back in Hawaii as the Command Inspector General for the Hawaii National Guard. He currently works at the civil defense facility inside Diamond Head crater, and for the first time in his prep football career, he’s been there to witness every play.
“Being away is a challenge for both myself and the family," said Terrell, Sr. "With Junior having to pickup a lot of things that I have left for him, it’s been tough watching him grow from afar, but it’s been nice being back and watching these highlights in real time.”
One of those highlights happened over the weekend, when Terrell, Jr. took the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown to start the game against the undefeated St. Louis Crusaders.
Although Punahou fell to the Crusaders, 25-19, that moment is one this father-and-son pair will never forget.
Vincent Terrell, Jr. has already scored eight touchdowns during the 2019 season, but every single one has meant something more than it did in years’ past.
“It’s something special," said Terrell, Jr. "You never know what your missing until it’s gone. Not having my dad in the stands watching you score is heartbreaking, but knowing that he is there now is comforting.”