Get Nathan Goltermann-Doyle talking about his Bellarmine Prep football teammates, every few seconds the Lions junior repeats the same phrase.
“It’s family,” he said.
But during the course of the regular season, Goltermann-Doyle – easily the toughest pound-for-pound high school running back in the South Sound – has located another best friend in his first season as a varsity regular.
The ice-bath machine.
“Ice baths,” Goltermann-Doyle said, “make everything better.”
The might not have followed the same script as the previous two seasons, but the Lions captured their third consecutive Narrows 4A championship on Friday night, and earned the league’s No. 1 seed to this week’s round-of-32 playoffs.
Compact but mighty at 5-foot-4 and 122 pounds, Goltermann-Doyle’s contributions have been nothing short of … well, big-time.
Thought to be part of a platoon with Jamal Ervin heading into the season, Goltermann-Doyle grabbed the job and ran with it from the third week on. And it was his two long touchdown runs in the first half that deflated Gig Harbor in the Lions’ 59-14 victory at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy on Friday.
Also last week, Goltermann-Doyle eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark. In nine games, he has totaled 1,029 yards on 149 carries (6.9-yard per carry average) while scoring 14 touchdowns.
“We were kind of always convinced he could be that guy,” Lions offensive coordinator Brian Jensen said. “It was just a trial and error with what his body could take, and how many carries he could take week in and week out.”
Jensen decided to find out early in a home league game against Central Kitsap. Goltermann-Doyle touched the ball 10 times on the Lions’ first 16 plays – and ended up with 78 yards on 15 carries, scoring one touchdown in a 41-0 Bellarmine Prep victory.
After the game, quarterback Lou Mille – who was the Lions’ starting running back in the team’s run last season to the Class 4A state title game – credited Goltermann-Doyle’s toughness from boxing as a big reason why he was able to take on a full workload.
“I was very sore,” Goltermann-Doyle said. “I don’t really get as sore now. After a couple games, I got used to it.”
Indeed, Goltermann-Doyle had a promising stint in amateur boxing. At first, he used to go to the fights to watch younger brothers Jimmy and Elijah compete. As time wore on, he liked the action so much, he joined the Tacoma Boxing Club in 2009.
He started out in the 80-pound weight class, and traveled with the boxing team.
“He had great hand speed, and he caught on fast,” Tacoma Boxing Club director Tom Mustin said. “And we took him to nationals (Junior Golden Gloves Nationals). After he lost that first year, he did not like the feeling. So he worked really hard on … step-around drills and ways to put combinations together.”
In 2011, Goltermann-Doyle returned to Junior Golden Gloves Nationals in Mesquite, Nev., and won all four bouts in the 95-pound class in his age group (13-14) to win a national title.
“He just out-boxed everybody,” said Mustin, who coached the U.S. Olympic boxing team in 2000.
It would also be his final of almost 40 amateur bouts. Heading into his ninth-grade year at Bellarmine Prep, Goltermann-Doyle wanted to concentrate on football.
But he certainly can recall those long days in the ring, too – and the lessons he learned from them.
“I learned a little bit about courage and getting fierce momentum going,” Goltermann-Doyle said. “Just not to be afraid of anything, and that has carried onto the football field.”
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442