It’s good to be the King.
Especially when you make a play that essentially keeps your team in the lead in an eventual win and in the bigger picture possibly created the momentum needed to start heading everything in the right direction.
Desert Vista senior Jason King wasn’t the sole reason the Thunder beat Division II Marana Mountain View 24-14 last week, but they would have been in a much different position if King didn’t come up with a fourth-quarter interception with a slim three-point lead.
“It was a huge play,” Desert Vista coach Fan Hinds said. “If they get points on that drive it’s a different game and there is pressure on the offense to come up with a play.
“Instead, we get the ball back and find the end zone to give us a good lead in the fourth quarter.”
The play epitomized the play of King.
It showed experience, leadership, intensity and an ability to come up with a big play — attributes of what has become to be expected of King.
“He is a great leader and he works hard,” junior T.J. Roberts said. “Even though he isn’t the biggest guy he plays like it.”
King is generously listed at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds — more like 5-9, 160 — and like most players on the smallish side, but with big ability plays with a bit a chip on his shoulder.
With King it doesn’t show up in a cocky way, but there is a clear confidence. He uses the assumption by outsiders that he is too small to compete at a high level as a driving force.
“I feel like I have always been doubted my whole life because I am small,” he said. “I’m not the biggest, strongest and fastest so if I prepare better it might give me an edge over someone who is more naturally gifted.”
It is clear it has given him an edge in the first four games for the Thunder (2-2) as he has been one of the positives in a sluggish start to the season, which continues tonight, Sept. 27, with a home game against Division II Cienega (1-3).
“I first met Jason when I had him in class as a freshman,” Hinds said. “I liked him right away because of his personality and confidence. He’s really grown into a leader and one of the players we really count on.”
King, who is received recruiting letters from schools like Azusa Pacific, said he is only applying what others before him taught.
“Last year I got a chance to play in big situations with guys like Nick Farina and Kaleb Germinaro,” said King, who also plays lacrosse. “They showed me how to do it their way, the right way. I am trying to do the same with some of our players, help the team any way I can. They used to say Nick Farina was another coach on the field and that’s what I want to be.”
He leads the team with nine catches for 70 yards, while he has a quarterback hurry, an interception, and a fumble recovery as a safety.
The interception might have been the biggest contribution going forward after helping the Thunder pull out a win it desperately needed last week.
“It was a big win for us as a team,” he said. “We’ve been struggling and we were down at halftime against a team we thought we overmatched. We had to come out and play better, and we did.”
Especially King, who jumped a route like a 6-foot-2 safety instead of the 5-9 hybrid he truly is.
“My driving force is to prove I’m just as good as anyone out there,” he said. “You can look at other players in the state and see they are bigger, faster and stronger, but you can’t take plays like that away from me.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.