There was no fooling around for 6-foot-6, 320-pound Jonah Tauanu’u of Harbor City Narbonne this season. His job was to block, and anyone in his way was considered a target.
How good was Tauanu’u? The coaches in the Marine League voted him the player of the year even though he didn’t score a single touchdown.
“When we needed a first down, we ran behind him,’’ coach Manuel Douglas said. “He could take over a game.”
Tauanu’u, who helped Narbonne win a fifth consecutive City Section championship, was selected The Times’ lineman of the year.
Committed to Oregon, Tauanu’u used his size and agility at left tackle to become an invaluable contributor on offense.
“It’s really hard to have that much effect on a game to be able to control the line of scrimmage with a single player, but I felt Jonah was that kind of cat,” Douglas said.
When Narbonne lost two defensive linemen to injuries in a state bowl game against San Diego Cathedral Catholic, Tauanu’u volunteered for duty. He said he didn’t know what to do other than push his man back. And that’s what he did to keep the Gauchos alive in a 24-21 loss.
Every season Tauanu’u got better, and Douglas is convinced his best days are ahead.
“If he’s injury free, he’s going to play in the [NFL],” said Douglas, who has had five players reach the NFL.