It happens every season.
High profile high school prospects who make their pledge to programs at the next level before their senior season have the tendency to take their foot off the pedal until they get to college. But in the mind of Centennial senior offensive guard Marshal Nathe, it has been the exact opposite.
In the Coyotes tough week zero loss to Southern California powerhouse Long Beach Poly, Nathe, who is one of the team’s captains this season, led by example and was a big presence on both sides of the football.
“Sometimes when kids commit early, they kind of back off,” said Centennial head coach Richard Taylor after the Long Beach Poly game. “He didn’t, man. He played offense and defense tonight, he was encouraging everybody. He had a great game.”
“It makes a big difference,” mentioned Nathe on committing to ASU back on March 30th. “It’s really allowed me to just concentrate on the team, concentrate on being the best leader I could possibly be and make us better.”
Centennial surprised a lot of people and represented Arizona with a lot of pride as they held Long Beach Poly, who averaged over 50 points per game last season, to zero first half points and had the ball in the final two minutes to try to win it. Ultimately, they came up about a yard short on fourth down during their drive for a comeback win.
“We worked our butts off for this game and it sucks losing by one point,” said Nathe. “But like coach said, they averaged 53 points and we held our own.”
Nathe has looked big and strong since we first saw him as a starter at the varsity level for the first time two years ago as a sophomore. But he has really worked on his craft and is as good as ever from a technique stand point. He has been working with former Arizona State and NFL offensive lineman Scott Peters and his SAFE Football program which with lineman, focuses a lot on center of gravity, leverage and skills also used to train MMA fighters.
“It’s been so engrained into my brain that it’s just reflective movements now,” explained Nathe. “It allows me to be more comfortable and not have to think so much and identify what I need to do and that’s execute.”
Nathe and the Coyotes will not have room to take a breath after their tough opening week opponent. Centennial being the defending champions from division II take on the defending champions from division III in the Saguaro Sabercats for their second game of the year.
“There is nothing like it,” Nathe stated about having two great opponents back-to-back to begin his senior season. “Yeah we’ve got another big game next week but we are going to be coming out big just like we did this week. I mean, we’ve got it.”
Centennial and Saguaro duel it out this Thursday at 7pm from Glendale Community College.