Lompoc’s standout defensive lineman Ainuu Taua, a junior, has been chosen as the All-Area Defensive Player of the Year.
was an unstoppable force on the defensive line, recording seven sacks
and a total of 49 tackles even though he had to fight through double and
triple teams on almost every snap. Taua, listed at 6-foot-1, 285
pounds, proved his versatility and athleticism in a number of ways. Taua
rushed for one touchdown, caught three more TDs out of the tight end
position and even intercepted a pass and returned that for another
Cross said Taua can play linebacker, drop back in coverage and play all over the defensive line, at either tackle or nose guard.
“He’s a scary individual — I’m glad he’s on our team,” Cross said.
who’s already taken an official visit to UCLA, presents a carefree,
non-chalant attitude. But Cross said there’s a whole lot more to Taua
than meets the eye.
“He puts in the work, people don’t know it, he
acts like he doesn’t, but he puts in a lot of time watching film and in
the weight room,” Cross said. “He comes from a football family and he’s
very football smart.”
Cross coached Ainuu’s older brother Vai
Taua at Cabrillo. Taua went on to star at the University of Nevada, Reno
and nearly made the Seahawks’ 53-man roster before suffering a knee
injury in the final preseason game this year.
Ainuu Taua said he
fought through a continuous stinger in his neck in the latter part of
the season. Unlike Hayes and Arellano, Taua has a year left to take care
of some unfinished business. Lompoc rolled through the regular season
before it lost to eventual CIF State Champion Gardena Serra in the
Western semis. The Cavaliers snapped Lompoc’s 32-game win streak.
didn’t finish (the season) how I wanted to, I got a little hurt at the
end of the season, but I was all right with what happened,” Taua said.
“It definitely hurt, what happened at the end.”