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Nate By the Numbers

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(PALM SPRINGS) — It was a bittersweet day at SoCal Coyote headquarters Thursday when superstar quarterback Nate Lewis informed the club he would be leaving to prepare full-time for the Arena Football League’s San Jose Sabercats, who open training camp March 1.

After several injuries waylaid his college hopes and a few years in the minors went nowhere, Lewis’s football future had been on its last breath. But the Coyotes’ fire-breathing Run ‘n’ Shoot offense proved to be just what the doctor ordered to restore his poise and confidence with a system designed around positive reinforcement and repetition.

The result? A resuscitated, record-setting career, a Pac West championship, national ranking and enough accolades to fill a moving van.

“Nate’s story is a lesson for every guy who might be about to give up on himself,” says head coach J. David Miller. “It’s been an education for everyone, how he handled his business. The biggest thing was how precious every minute is to him. He did everything with purpose, whether it was being the first guy on the field for stretching, or helping in the community. He never wasted one second. We’d be watching film, and the other guys would be silent, and he’d just ask, ‘Hey, what’s the hot read against that coverage?’ Nobody on this team wanted to let him down.”

And the numbers don’t lie. The quarterback leaves the Coyotes as the team’s all-time passing leader with 5,228.6 yards, and 58 touchdowns — in 11 complete games over a season and a half.

He averaged 15.9 yards per completion, set records for completions and attempts. His 475.3 yards per game and completion percentage of 76.4 will be heady goals for future Coyote quarterbacks.

In 11 games, Lewis had a perfect passer rating — 158.3 — three times. Only twice did his teams score less than 20 points, but reached 50 three times, 40 four times, and 30 three times. Other records include a 98-yard touchdown, two games in which he engineered drives on every possession, and another where he completed 14 consecutive passes.

“He was our Peyton Manning,” Miller smiles. “Nobody throws the long ball more accurately. He gave the Coyotes a chance to make a statement, and we did. He helped define us and put a face on this franchise. We’re all so proud of him, because he is living proof of what happens when you work hard and don’t surrender.

“For years to come, guys will be saying, ‘Remember that time that Nate … and they’ll just fill in the blank. There’s too many to count. What a ride. This franchise couldn’t be more proud right now.”

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