ANAHEIM, Calif. — Hard work, discipline and toughness are what make the football program at Servite High School in Anaheim.
For senior linebacker Jacob Manu, it is what drew him to the school in the first place and what has been a perfect fit.
What You Need To Know
- Servite High School is finishing out the regular season with a big battle against St. John Bosco
- The Friars have been dominant all season, ranked fifth in the state of California
- To the football program, a huge reason for their success on the field is the brotherhood they share off the field
- It's something senior linebacker Jacob Manu said can be seen, felt and heard all throughout campus
"Me, as a linebacker, I like that a lot because that's all I wanna do when I get on the field, is dominate," he said. "I'm a physical player."
Over the last four years, he and a strong senior class of Friars have used that same work ethic to lead the team forward. The program is among the best in the country and ranked fifth in the state this year.
Sure, the Friars can hit, pass, and run with the best of them, but ask any player on the team, and it is another characteristic that stands out to them.
"It goes back to what we call Freshman Formation when we learn about the brotherhood," Manu explained. "It's all trust. Coach [Troy] Thomas says we have to trust one another and make sure we do our job."
The Servite brotherhood has long set the program apart, but it is something in Manu's case that is not just experienced on the football field.
It can be seen, heard and felt throughout campus – specifically in the choir room where he and six of his teammates sing together.
They can be found standing side-by-side singing in perfect harmony. Yet, another example of that sacred Servite brotherhood.
"A big part of the defense for us is you do your job and trust your brother to do his job, nothing can happen," senior captain Maxx Silao said. "Just as I trust these guys on the field, I trust them to hit their notes and sing their parts perfectly."
Together they bring the bond shared on the football field to life through music, whether in class, on bus rides or in pregame masses.
To their choir teacher Renee Cahill, much like to their head coach, seeing them sing together is powerful.
"It's an escape from the everyday homework, tests and quizzes, just to come and leave everything outside," Cahill said. "I mean we've had win after win so far, so they come in pretty positive, but lose or win they just come in, escape everything and share their music."
Moreover, to Thomas, hearing them bring their faith alive through that music really hits home, showcasing what being a Friar is all about.
"The first time they started singing, I definitely felt the spirit and was emotional," Thomas said. "Because we're about to go play a game, they're about to be really physical, but just to hear them keep everything in perspective, it is powerful."
Singing in a choir together is so much like being on a football team together — the school as a whole, encouraging each player to pursue all of their passions.
"Servite is just a great school for that if you wanna explore," Manu said. "They let us be free. We're not just football players; we have a lot to us."