By Keeli Parkey
Months after the 2018 high school football season came to a close one, Blue Devil is still being recognized for his efforts on the gridiron.
It was recently announced that junior Unicoi County High School football standout running back Kody Lewis was chosen for the Tennessee Football Coaches Association all-state team for the 3-A classification.
“It’s a great accomplishment for my team and for me,” Lewis said. “I wouldn’t be able to do that without my teammates and my coaching staff.”
The head man on that coaching staff is very proud of Lewis.
“There really isn’t a nomination process, that’s one of the reasons that it is so difficult to be named all-state,” UCHS head coach Drew Rice told The Erwin Record. “It’s sort of just recognition from all the different media outlets and coaches across the state. To our knowledge, we haven’t had anyone named all-state in football since 1985. It’s a really special accomplishment.
“I think it’s a testament to his God-given ability, but also to how hard he has worked to make himself the best football player he can be,” Rice continued. “He is probably the strongest kid we have on our football team pound for pound. It’s no coincidence that the strongest guys in the weight room are usually the best football players too.”
Lewis was a force on the field for the Blue Devils during the 2018 season, helping the team to a 9-3 overall record, a second-place finish in Region 1-AAA and a playoff game victory.
The junior carried the ball 194 times for 2,025 yards and 24 touchdowns – all without a single fumble.
“We have said for the last two years that we wanted to run the football,” Rice said. “So Kody certainly made that happen. He is a threat to score anytime he touches it, so that’s a great quality to have in one of your guys who gets as many touches as he does. He will be the first one to give credit to his teammates and his offensive line, though. It’s just the sort of young man he is.”
Lewis also helped the team in other ways, including catching 3 passes for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. He had 64 tackles on the defensive side of the ball and played a key role on special teams with 8 kickoff returns for 163 yards.
Lewis has another season for the Blue Devils.
“Honestly, it’s tough to put expectations of having an even better season as a senior when you put up the sort of numbers he did this past year,” Rice said. “Brett Strother being such a threat on the outside for us this year, really opened up the running lanes for Kody and our offense. So we know people will be keying on him next year, but that just opens the door of opportunity for someone else to come in and make an impact for us. It’s what makes football such a great game.
One of his players earning such a recognition is important for the Blue Devil program, according to Rice.
“It’s huge for us,” he said. “You look at the list of kids on that list, and they all play for tremendous programs. So for us to have a guy on the same list as guys that won a state championship this past year is just huge.”
Players also on the TnFCA Class 3-A Offense All-State team were: Trey Foster of Austin East; Brock Lomax of Covington; Walker Russell of Alcoa; Xavier Shepherd of Pearl Cohn; Marcus Hayes of Covington; Blake Metzger of Upperman; James Moore of Stratford; Cole Bush of Upperman; Calvin Jackson III of Red Bank; Kam Harris-Lusk of Fairview; K.J. Zeigler of Giles County; Andrew Coulter of Alcoa; Hiller Gray of Fairview; Jaalon Gupton of Stratford; Mayson Harris of Pearl Cohn; Spencer Lacewell of South Gibson; Matt Blow of Camden; Donoven McCallister of Upperson; Chris Stevenson of Austin East; Romal Webb of Raleigh Egypt; and Zeke Rankin of Alcoa.