Mana provides offensive power

Running back Manaitovini "Mana" Pau'u might have the same last name as his well-known cousin and top California linebacker Butch Pau'u, who plays alongside him at Servite High School. However, Mana is making his own name at Servite.

You know what they say: "Dynamite comes is small packages." And that's what Servite High School has in their offensive backfield in the 5-foot-10-inch, 200-pound Mana Pau'u.

"He's a power back," said his uncle Uepi Pau'u, who is the father of BYU commit Butch Pau'u. "He's strong and is a powerful runner who runs hard downfield. He's doing really well for being so young as a running back."

"I was born and raised in Inglewood, and for academics and football I came out to Servite and have been living with my family out here," said Mana. "It's been great being able to play out here and take my game to a new level."

A high school junior, Mana hasn't been playing football as long as one might think.

"I first started at linebacker and didn't play football until the eighth grade," said Mana. "My uncle taught me how to play linebacker and I learned really quickly and started on the J.V. team.

"I was then blessed with an opportunity to move up to varsity and get some playing time there. During my junior year, that's when things got really tough. They moved me to linebacker and then to strong safety because we have a lot of guys getting injured. Then they moved me to d-lineman."

But, Mana wanted a shot at playing on offense.

"I wasn't really happy with the position I was playing and asked if I could play running back," Pau'u said. "Coach Thomas told me that in order for me to play that spot I have to earn it. I showed him what I had and so far I'm now the starting running back."

Mana was able to prove himself during his team's close loss to a nationally ranked Bishop Gorman team.

"I got my opportunity to earn my starting spot at the Bishop Gorman game," he said. "It was in the third quarter when the score was 21-28 and they put me in and I ran for 84 yards on 15 attempts and scored a touchdown, tying the game at 28-28.

"I really didn't know the plays and they just put me out there on the spot. Honestly, I was just asking God to help me through that. It's also very ironic because that same week my mom went to the temple and prayed to Heavenly Father that I would have that opportunity to shine. I guess Heavenly Father answered her prayers."

Mana just recently turned 16 years old. He still has one more year of playing running back at Servite High School, but already has a favorite college.

"The only favorite college I have so far is BYU," he said. "There's really not that many schools that I know of that can carry the high standards and expect more out of their students like BYU."

Although his older cousin Butch will be suiting up in BYU blue in the future, Mana doesn't favor BYU simply because of that reason.

"No, I've always been a big BYU fan," said Mana, who is LDS like Butch. "My dad loves USC and when BYU plays USC I always hope they win because I hate USC with a passion. They're just so cocky and I don't like that. BYU is just a different program and stands for different things."

This summer Mana intends on visiting BYU and other summer camps to showcase his football talents.

"That's the goal this year," he said. "I really want to come out there. I just have to make sure my school work is good, and Servite High School's academics are tough and are like the college level. I just have to make sure I keep my grades high so I can go out and perform and be ready for anything that might come my way."

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