Lewis all about perseverance

David Lewis is a 5-11, 183-pound defensive back from Spanaway (Wash.) Bethel and Lewis knows all about adversity. Lewis makes his living in the secondary anticipating receivers' moves, but he could never have anticipated the events of the past 5 weeks. They would change his life.

While David was winning awards for his play with the pigskin, he was dealing with hardships at home. His Mother was sick, and even though she had fought courageously, it was an illness that would eventually take her life.

"Basically, my Mom had a disease that she found out about a few years back and for the most part it's been OK except for a couple of times where we had to get her to the hospital when she was having trouble breathing," Lewis told Dawgman.com. "The disease deteriorates the cartilege in her trachea. It got to the point where it was pretty bad so they put in a tube to help her breathe and that went well but after the surgery they realized it was moving down to her lungs and there was nothing they could do about that."

Lewis found solace in his family, but they couldn't help what happened next. "I'm alright," he said. "I had a lot of family here so that helped, but then they left and we had another death. One of Johnny's best friends died and we had a memorial at our school Saturday and that was pretty hard because that was the month anniversary of my Mother's passing so I felt going to U-Dub (for spring game) would be a better decision for me. I'm doing alright. I've got my Dad with me."

DuRocher, much like David, is finding comfort in the game he loves. The two of them are battling through the tough times together, travelling south to partake in a football camp just 24 hours after the memorial. "It was at Lewis and Clark field," Lewis said about Greg Barton's Air Attack camp in Beaverton. "There was two sessions with hundreds of kids there and it was also for college players too. The Kentwood quarterback who is going to Wazzu (Carl Bonnell) was there. It was about three hours and you run routes, learn knew things and catch balls."

David, although known mostly for his work as a defensive back, will do more on offense this year. "More receiver, because I hardly played receiver last year," he said when asked about his plans for this fall. "I mostly stuck to DB but that's going to change this year. I'll play a lot of receiver."

But you can't blame Braves coach Eric Kurle from getting David on the field as much as possible. Last year he had 11 picks, good enough to earn Lewis All-State, All-League and All-Area first team honors. "Yeah, it was a surprise, but it was nice," David said of his All-State selection. "I was pretty happy. I could see it coming but it was still an exciting feeling as a junior."

Kurle knows that Lewis is just starting to reach his potential. "David is only 16 right now and he'll get faster and stronger," he said. "He's already put 40 pounds on his bench since football ended."

Lewis runs a 4.6 40 and benches 270 pounds. He puts all of his athleticism to good use on the field. "Basically I try to sense where the receiver is going before he gets to that point," David said. "I try to instinctually know where he's going so I can get there before he does. I'm good at not getting beat deep. I always keep my man in front of me."

Not only is David going to be playing receiver this fall, but he'll also be playing some safety for Bethel. "I'm looking forward to playing receiver and safety next year. I look forward to playing safety. I love it. You sit back there, watch the quarterback and make reads. Instead of focusing on one guy I can focus on the ball, see where it is and going at it."

He also takes his talents to the diamond, where Lewis plays a little baseball on the side. "I play baseball on a select summer league team," he said. "I play center field, basically the outfield and I pitch whenever they need me."

Is there a future for David throwing the little white pill? "I'm not sure," he said. "We'll be travelling to San Diego in August, and we travel a lot but I'm not sure."

First things are first, so that brings Lewis back to the gridiron. And what better place to take in a little football than Husky Stadium? "First we got there and we met the coaches, Rick Neuheisel and the offensive coordinator, who I had met a week earlier at a practice," David said about his experience last Saturday at Washington's spring game. "Then we had a tour and went on the field for the game after we ate. It got me in the mood for playing. I just want to play right now. It got me thinkin' about it a lot."

Lewis admitted to focusing a little harder on a couple of players in particular. "Reggie (Williams), of course," he said. "And I like to watch Paul, Paul Arnold."

Neuheisel got his two cents in. "He said he was glad to meet me this time and said that he's looking forward to recruiting me," David said.

Oregon and Washington State stopped by Bethel yesterday, and while Lewis doesn't have any offers yet he's still getting plenty of attention. "Probably LSU and Wazzu," David said, when asked who is showing him the most attention right now. "LSU is kind of surprising."

So when Lewis and DuRocher head down to Stanford in a couple of weeks to participate in Nike's NorCal camp, it will simply be another obstacle David will overcome to get what he needs - a scholarship offer. With numerous Division-1 head coaches planning on attending the day's festivities in Palo Alto, he's relishing the challenge that lies ahead. "I'm pretty excited," he said. "We're training pretty hard for it right now. We're running a lot and lifting a lot."

And his Mother would be extremely proud of him.

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