Sione Lolohea just made history. He is the first eighth grade football prospect to ever receive a football scholarship from the BYU Cougars.
“Yeah something happened to me that was really special,” said Lolohea. “I got called to the school office and I was told that I got an offer from BYU. It was really exciting for me and a big opportunity for me.”
When his father Siua Lolohea first learned that his son was offered by BYU, he thought it was a late April Fool’s joke.
“It was a big day for us,” said Siua Lolohea. “I was so shocked! I thought, ‘Is this a prank or something?”
Siua Lolohea began to laugh.
“I wasn’t sure if this was a real thing or not, but this is a real blessing for my son. I’m really proud of him, but at first I was thinking it was a prank or something. Sione was really happy. He doesn’t really show it and it’s hard for him to show his emotions. His older brother talked to him and he really showed it after that.”
That’s probably because Sione is so young that it’s really grasp what a scholarship offer from BYU actually means. However, there is one thing Sione Lolohea does understand and that is now he has to stay focused for the next four years, keep his grades up, and continue to work hard in developing his football skills.
“It just means that I have to work harder in sports and in my academics,” said Sione Lolohea. “I have to work to keep my grades up and be an example to everyone else. I want to get better in sports.”
The one who first got young Sione Lolohea to play football was none other than BYU’s Director of Player Personnel Jack Damuni, who coached him last year.
“I’ve know Jack Damuni since last year in Big Boys League,” said Lolohea. “It’s football for big boys out here. Jack was really supportive and he pushed us to be better. He’s a really good guy.”
“He was playing for Jack Damuni last year, and that was his first time playing football,” said Siua Lolohea. “He pretty much played rugby, so last year was his first time playing football growing up. Jack Damuni did a good job with him. Jack is now over there at BYU.”
Large for his age, young Sione Lolohea truly is a man among boys. He towers over all in his class and age group.
“He’s about 6-4, 235-pounds or something around there,” said his father Siua Lolohea. “He plays on the line but he’s also a punter and does kick-offs.
“There’s no kids in the eighth grade are as big as me,” Sione said with a chuckle in his voice. “It’s pretty cool. I think there’s a lot of other kids who would really want that offer really bad, so to me I’m just grateful for that opportunity.”
Because of his size as an eighth grader, Sione Lolohea has received experience on both sides of the ball. He also does the punting and kicking duties for his team as well.
“Right now I play defensive tackle, defensive end, kicker, and punter,” Sione said. “The last time I kicked the ball they said it was 60 yards. I mostly play on the defensive line, but sometimes they put me at [offensive] tackle too.”
It will be many years till Sione Lolohea graduates from high school. Much can happen by that time but one thing is certain. He’s already on the Cougars’ radar with a verbal offer.
“I feel it’s a blessing and it’s a good thing for me,” Sione Lolohea said. “I thank God and give him all the glory. My dad was really excited about this. He told me that I have to work harder to go to [BYU].”