Welcome to another installment of Friday Night Lights. Every Friday from now until November, we will be posting an interview with a different high school coach. This series will highlight different high school programs around the country, with an attempted focus on high schools that are recruited by Mountain West Conference schools. The hope is that through this journey we all understand a bit about what goes into coaching at the high school level, what teams do similar and different from one another, and also learn more about the teams that recruits are coming from each year.
The Narbonne Gauchos may be a team some have heard of, especially the in the past decade. Not only have they produced quite a bit of Division-I talent, but they’ve also been a consistent top team in the Los Angeles area. They have been city champions in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Their 2015 and 2017 seasons also finished with a California division 1A state championships. This week we spoke with their Offensive Coordinator Brandon Manumaleuna, who provided the information below.
How would you describe the culture or identify of your program? What do you think might make you unique compared to other schools?
The culture has been built up over the last decade to except nothing less than being the best team in the LA City and standing up to every challenge that we come across. Year after year each senior class has the goal to win the last game they play. And it has trickled down to the underclassmen. One unique thing for us is that we have no 2 way starters. We have 22 starters and their backups.
What styles of offense and defense do you play?
Offensively we run and up tempo no huddle offense. We are pretty even as far as pass/run ratio. We spread the ball all over the field to numerous players. Defensively we run a 4-3 sometimes bringing in a nickel for pass situations. We are very aggressive when it comes to bringing pressure.
What are some specific ways your program develops players or helps them improve from freshman to senior year?
I think a big way to help players develop is to put them in pressure situations at early stages in their career. We have been known to play a ton of underclassmen. We also play a tough level of competition.
What’s something about your team/program that not many people know about?
How many city championships we’ve won and how we measure up against the other competition in our league.
How do you as a team balance the current high school season with players being recruited by colleges or how might you help a high school recruit with that process?
We try to help recruits as much as possible with the process of being recruiting. We have byes during our season that’ll allow kids to take visits and still focus on the season at hand. We always try to make the players accessible to scouts that come through campus just so they can been seen by scouts.
Who are some of the prominent players from your school who have gone to D1 programs and where have they gone?
We’ve had some great players come through Narbonne in the past. Nhamdi Asamuogha went to Cal and had a All Pro career with the Raiders. Dashon Goldsen went to Washington and was a pro bowler for the 49ers. Roy Lewis went to Washington and won a super bowl with the Pittsburgh steelers. Brandon Manumaleuna went to Arizona and played 11 years in the NFL. Antoine Applewhite played at San Diego State and played for the San Diego Chargers. Uchenna Nwosu went to USC and was recently drafted by the San Diego Chargers. Keishawn Bierria went to Washington and was also recently drafted by the Denver Broncos.
Who are some of your top players this year getting D1 looks or offers?
This year we’ve had 5 guys with early commitments.
- Paul Edwards, Colorado State
- Jamaree Bonne, Idaho State
- Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson, San Diego State
- Brionne Penny, San Diego State
- Steve Jenkins, UNLV
- We have for guys still waiting in the wings to make their decision about next season. So going forward should be fun.
Want your team to be part of a future Friday Night Lights series? Contact @Mike_SBN or @MWCConnection on Twitter.