SHORELINE — Nate Douglas wasn’t blessed with a strapping physique, but the King’s senior gets the most out of his underrated 5-foot-7, 140-pound frame.
An out-of-this-world vertical leap manufactured by a resolute work ethic helped Douglas rise from the absolute bottom of the King’s football depth chart.
Douglas put his hops on display in his first start for the Knights, corralling a pair of interceptions as part of a dominating defensive performance that paced King’s to a 30-12 non-league triumph over LaConner Sept. 12 at Woolsey Stadium in the season opener for both teams.
“Sophomore year he was probably the last man on the roster. He worked really hard his junior year,” King’s coach Jim Shapiro said of Douglas. “He’s not the biggest kid on the field, but he’s got a big heart. And he can sure jump.”
Douglas snagged his first pick in the third quarter, setting up a field goal for the Knights.
“They ran a wheel and their slotback came around and I stayed with him,” Douglas said.
With the outcome assured, Douglas snuck in front of his receiver and plucked an errant Josh Oosterhof pass from the air at the LaConner 40-yard line in the final minute.
“He skied on that last one,” Shapiro said. “I don’t know how high he jumped. He went up and got it.”
Covering receivers who enjoy a considerable height advantage over him doesn’t intimidate Douglas, a former soccer player who switched to football in 2001.
“I work on my vertical a lot,” he said. “I’ve got to jump high and get above them.”
King’s also got two interceptions from Chris Faidley and didn’t give up any passing yards. The Braves gained just 161 yards on the ground.
“We thought they were going to try and pass, so we prepared for it all week long,” Shapiro said.
LaConner didn’t score after Ryan Coonc’s second-quarter touchdown and was held to 41 yards in the second half. In the fourth quarter, the Braves managed just four plays — two were interceptions — compared to King’s 18.
Faidley completed his first four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 106 yards and a score on eight carries to go with his picks on defense.
The senior quarterback darted 65 yards on the second play of the game to give the Knights an early lead and added a 6-yard TD run with 22 seconds to go in the first quarter.
King’s took a 20-6 lead in the second quarter on Faidley’s 19-yard strike to sophomore Andrew Lutton, who made it 23-12 with his 20-yard field goal at the 4:54 mark of the fourth quarter.
Faidley’s second interception and 24-yard return set up one last score, a 1-yard burst by Spencer Clark with 1:05 remaining. The freshman tailback finished with 101 yards on 24 attempts and accounted for 53 of King’s 97 rushing yards in the fourth quarter.
“He’s our No. 4 back,” Shapiro said of Clark. “We’ve got three in front of him who are a little older and more mature, but he ran like a senior tonight. He played extremely well.”
The Knights also got 57 yards on 11 rushes from senior Brady Clark and finished with 341 total yards.
King’s travels to Whidbey Island the next two weeks for a pair of non-conference games against Class 2A South Whidbey and Coupeville before hosting defending Class 1A state champion Archbishop Murphy Oct. 3.