NORWALK -- With three minutes left in the first half of Servite's 16-9 nonleague victory Friday over Edison, Servite fans began chanting “Defense! Defense!” They might have saved themselves a syllable had they chanted “Butch! Butch!” The two are synonymous.
Butch Pauu, who's last name is pronounced “Pow! Oooh!” – it's the same sound one hears in a stadium when he makes contact with a ball carrier and the crowd responds – had himself a game. He had already had himself a season – he intercepted a pass last week against La Habra and returned it for a touchdown – after calling his shot in practice.
“I was defending it with another player, and he came to me and said, 'I got it, you don't need to put the defensive end on the shovel,” coach Troy Thomas recalled. “I said that's his read, that's how we're going to play it. Then he had two opportunities at the shovel pass. One he had a tackle for a loss and the other he intercepts. I guess he did have it. He is a player. He is really playing well.”
Pauu continued his reign of terror on opposing offenses Friday, and in those moments that Servite fans were exhorting their defense to make a stand, the junior linebacker had been marking his territory. In the nine plays that Edison ran, Pauu had three tackles in which Edison ball-carriers were held to 1, 0 and 0 yards, the latter on a pass that preceded the chants. On another play, Troy Baljeu caught a pass over the middle for a seven-yard gain but Pauu dropped him like a lead balloon.
“After a big play like that, it gets you pumped,” said Pauu, after Servite, ranked No. 1 by ESPNLA.com, improved to 4-0. “That got me going.”
The only points No. 13 Edison (3-1) mustered in the first half was a 43-yard field goal by Gavin Perdomo. Understand that Edison came into the game averaging 44.6 points per game.
On Edison's opening drive of the second half, Pauu intercepted a pass from Chase Favreau and returned it 16 yards, to the Chargers' 20, setting up Connor Loftus' third field goal, a short 30-yarder for a 16-3 lead.
On Edison's next series, on third and five, with Troy Niklas flushing Favreau out of the pocket Pauu came up and finished the scrambling quarterback for a one-yard gain. Favreau eventually got up, gimpy, and never reentered the game. Coach Dave White says he is concerned Favreau he may have cracked an ankle.
"I hope he comes back," Pauu said. "He's a great quarterback."
Even the lone touchdown that Edison scored -- the first against Servite's first-team defense in four games -- seemingly came with an asterisk. The Chargers' drive was 21 yards, and included a fake field-goal attempt, a penalty that moved them from the six to the three-yard line for a first down, and then a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown by lineman Kyle Finney. That came with 10:51 left in the game.
It was no match for Servite's touchdown drive on its opening possession, 64 yards in eight plays capped by Jherremya Leuta-Douyere's six-yard carry, or the three field goals by Loftus of 52, 40 and 30 yards.
But on most nights this season, 16 points for the Friars will be enough. Especially if the defense is delivering the Pow and the Oooh.