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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ma'ne Manaea makes impact as The News Tribune’s All-Area Player of the Year

Long before he was a do-it-all football player at Lakes High School, Ma’ne Manaea played positions all over the field for the Lakewood Lumberjacks youth teams.“Quarterback, tight end, receiver, running back, fullback, shoot, even noseguard,” he said, “I played everything.”One of the most versatile and talented players in the state, Manaea is The News Tribune’s 2011 All-Area Football Player of the Year.Manaea was a major contributor on offense, defense and special teams for the Lancers. The senior started at receiver and safety, returned punts and was Lakes’ primary punter. He caught touchdown passes, scored on fly sweeps and fake punts, intercepted passes and leveled jarring hits on receivers who dared to invade Lakes’ secondary. “Considering everything he did for us,” Lakes coach Dave Miller said, “he’s probably one of the most complete football players we’ve had.”Opposing coaches agree.“He does everything,” Bonney Lake coach Chad Barrett said. “He even gets out there and blocks downfield like an offensive lineman. He could play any position on the field and he’d succeed because that’s how hard he works.”Lakes football has been part of Manaea’s life for as long as he can remember. Older brothers and cousins played for the Lancers and he was even a bellboy at games through most of elementary and middle school.“Lakes football has been in my family, been in my blood,” he said. “All my cousins, brothers, everybody went to Lakes, played under Coach Miller, Coach (Dick) Zatkovich. To me, this is nothing new.”Manaea will begin a new chapter in life when he reports to the University of Colorado in the summer. He orally committed to the Buffaloes in September and visited the Boulder campus in October. The trip affirmed his decision to attend school so far away from family and friends.“Being out there for three days, I felt like I was already going to the school,” he said. “It was like the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Everything came together.”Manaea said he wants to play right away.“My mindset is I’m going to come in and fight for my spot,” he said. “I’m going to play as a true freshman. There’s no redshirting me.“Coach Greg Brown (CU defensive coordinator) told me once you sign on the dotted line, get the workout plan, come in here and work hard, there should be no reason why you can’t be in the games on Saturdays.”He’s looking forward to facing Pacific-12 Conference foe California and Lakes teammate Cedric Dozier, who has committed to the Bears and will probably play receiver.“I said ‘Ced, if you get the ball I’m going to hit you in the open field. It’s going to happen. I’m going to tackle you,’ ” Manaea said. “He said ‘Ma’ne, I’m going to shake you in a heartbeat.’ We’ll see about that.”Manaea expects to get a homesick attending a school 1,400 miles from home. Born and raised in Tacoma and Lakewood, and the youngest of five brothers, along with his twin, Mataio, he’s going to miss the familiar faces of family and friends.“That’s one thing that’s going to kill me,” he said, “being away from my homeboys.”The chance to play Division I football and get a college degree – he plans to study civil engineering – was too much to pass up.“I’ll be a couple states over, but this is an opportunity for me to take advantage of,” he said. “I get the opportunity to play the best game ever made.”

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