Kaimana and Isaiah Nacua are brothers of Polynesian Pacific Islander decent. Mother Penina is of Samoan ancestry, father Lionel is, well “poi-dog” to be exact. He is of Hawaiian, Filipino, Portuguese, Mexican, and German blood. Lionel was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Back in 2012 in Las Vegas the Nacua brothers were making national sports news. Both Kaimana and Isaiah Nacua were high school football standouts. Kai, a senior at the time was the star quarterback who also played defensive safety for the Liberty High School Patriots. Isaiah, who at the time was a junior first-team all-league defensive end at Bishop Gorman High School Gaels.
It was an interesting story that the brothers went to different high schools, playing on different football teams. Liberty and Bishop Gorman were (and still are) considered top teams, power houses in the state of Nevada as well as on the national level. Two brothers, two strong rivals getting along in one household. Well, for the most part. Brothers will be brothers, boys will be boys, you know.
Lionel Nacua, their father had recently passed away earlier in the year. Kai and Isaiah vowed to uphold and honor their father’s wishes of both brothers playing together at Brigham Young University (BYU). Both brothers indeed, made verbal commitments to BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
With the death of father Lionel, came the emotional “roller coaster” that all families face when loosing an immediate loved one. Penina Nacua, mom of Kai and Isaiah made the difficult decision to move the family from Las Vegas to Provo, Utah. The Nacua’s are of LDS faith, but never really considered moving to Utah. In fact, not giving it a chance they never liked Utah. Nevertheless, Penina felt Utah is where they needed to be and the best place for Isaiah to find good influences and set himself on the right path.
Kai, older brother of the two stayed true to his dad’s wishes and fulfilled his commitment signing with BYU in 2013. During his freshmen year Kai has seen playing time on the defensive side contributing at the safety position. With a year of meaningful experience and now a sophomore Kai should be seeing a lot more playing time during the upcoming 2014 season.
It wasn’t such a smooth transition for Isaiah. He started down playing his commitment to BYU. He openly entertained other offers from schools in the PAC 12 and the SEC. As a senior in high school, Isaiah went to Timpview High School, a football championship caliber team in Utah. All the while, he grew further from the idea of attending BYU. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall was not happy with Isaiah’s actions. BYU reconsidered Isaiah’s scholarship offer.
With the difficulties of not having a father’s guidance Isaiah confided in Timpview’s head coach Cary Whittingham as well as former BYU players Spencer and Bishop Reid. Isaiah began to find his calling becoming actively engaged in the LDS Church while gaining a desire to serve a church mission — certainly something he had not planned on doing previously.
With some coaxing coach Mendenhall agreed to meet with Isaiah. Making an already long story short, when all the talks were done Isaiah had gotten his scholarship offer back. Isaiah and Kai Nacua will make their dad’s dreams come true. Both brothers will play together as Cougars at BYU, but not until 2016. Isaiah will first fulfill his two year LDS mission.