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SCCS' Derek Lewis: Lewis is ready to write his legacy

Posted: August 26, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 26, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Cardinals running back Derek Lewis will play in the SCCS backfield as well as linebacker in 2012. He will be a key piece in the Cardinals' success in 11-man football.

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If you’re looking for evidence of a change within the Santa Clarita Christian School football team, look first to Derek Lewis.

He is the epitome of the new SCCS – bigger, stronger and ready to take on anyone.

The junior linebacker/running back has only just begun to ascend as the next big thing on a team which has already seen excellent runner/linebacker combination players pass through.

The biggest name was Collin Keoshian, who helped SCCS win two CIF-Southern Section Division I 8-man titles in 2008 and 2009 before being recruited out of high school to play football at Brigham Young University.

But SCCS plays 11-man now, and Lewis has other things on his mind besides filling the shoes of the past.

“At times (I think about past players),” Lewis says. “Pretty rarely just because of all the other stuff going on with this upcoming season. But yeah, I do think about it.”

The fact is, Lewis’ position of choice is linebacker anyway.

Where Keoshian made a name for himself as an all-around offensive threat by throwing, running and catching, Lewis will play a more conventional role as pure downhill runner on offense and a hard-hitting tackler on defense.

“He’s one of those guys – a special talent,” says SCCS head coach Garrick Moss. “He’s a linebacker at heart. I think at the college level, he’ll play linebacker, but he’s a really talented runner too.”

With 71 carries for 343 yards, Lewis was the team’s second-leading rusher last season. He was also the team leader with 71 tackles as one of seven sophomore starters.

Now, those same seven players are back as juniors who make up the core of a team nearly devoid of seniors.

The pressure is on players like Lewis to keep the young team grounded. It’s also on him to keep things in perspective.

“I don’t think he says he’s the star. He doesn’t try to show it,” Blake says. “He gives 100 percent on the field and he works twice as hard off the field.”

This is where Lewis wanted to be headed into his third high school season. He’ll be on the field almost every down on both sides of the ball and he’s already established himself as one of the most respected and feared players on campus.

“He’s the guy that everybody would be afraid to hit,” says SCCS quarterback Jonathan Saavedra. “I talked to some guys that are not playing football and I ask them why. They say, ‘I don’t want to be hit by Derek Lewis.’”

This is the kind of status he had in mind when he decided to join the Cardinals as a freshman.

For five years, Lewis played for the Canyon Outlaws youth football program, which feeds the majority of its players to the area’s public high schools – Canyon and Golden Valley.

No thank you, said Lewis, who attended SCCS since sixth grade.

“He would have been one of Canyon’s best freshmen that year when he would have gone to Canyon because he was one of the best Outlaw players on his team,” Moss says. “He chose to stay at SCCS and has just pushed and pushed and pushed.”

Although the Cardinals’ football team was 8-man at the time when Lewis came in as a freshman, he stayed put at the school with a mere promise of switching to 11-man.

Looking back, it was an easy decision.

“I really like the coaches here. They’re all really cool guys and they definitely know what they’re talking about,” Lewis says. “And the team is really coming together just with the bonding.”

Who knows where Lewis would be had he decided to play at a different school. The more important point is he has no regrets. SCCS is a perfect fit for him.

He may be vicious and aggressive on the field, but he’s also one of the nicest, easy-to-get-along-with people off the field.

That, too, embodies the spirit if Cardinal football.

With all the changes taking place with the program, it seems to be one characteristic will always remain, thanks to players like Lewis.

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