Starkville Academy's Lewis responds well from adversity

Starkville Academy quarterback Garrett Lewis, left, stand with head coach Chase Nicholson.

Staff Writer

Garrett Lewis could have gotten down on himself.

After throwing an interception that was returned 30 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage last Friday against Indianola Academy, the Starkville Academy junior quarterback could have responded to that adversity in a negative way.

He didn’t.

Lewis came right back, led the Vols on an 80-yard scoring drive to tie the game and ultimately rallied them past the Colonels 20-14.

Starkville Academy head coach Chase Nicholson said he turned a corner with Lewis.

“I got to watch him get better,” Nicholson said. “He threw a pick six on the first play of the ball game and his next throw was a strike to Hawk (Howell Archer) down the middle of the field so he bounced right back so that’s what I needed to see from him.”

It was only the third start for Lewis behind the center so Nicholson wanted to see how the junior would handle the situation.

Even though Lewis admits throwing the interception was his fault and he had “no clue” why he threw it, he did not compound the problem by feeling sorry for himself.

Lewis was mad at himself for making the mistake, but didn’t want his teammates to see him have a pity party on the sideline.

“I knew if I got down, then the whole team would get down, so I tried not to show it,” Lewis said. “I  just tried to go back out there and do my thing.”

The biggest thing for Nicholson was the line of communication remained open between he and Lewis.

That relationship is going to be an important as Starkville Academy progresses throughout the season.

“We continue to grow as quarterback and coach each week,” Nicholson said. “As we do that, the rest of the team grows more comfortable with him and comfortable with each other. It’s a process.”

For the season, Lewis has completed 23-of-48 pass attempts for 312 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Nicholson said he will not dwell on the interceptions because they happen to the most successful of signal callers.

“You’ll never see me yell at a quarterback for throwing an interception because they occur,” Nicholson said. “What I never want to see is have someone get their head down in front of their team or me. That is something he did not allow to happen. He kept doing what he was supposed to be doing as a quarterback. He kept his head up, kept a smile on his face, he went to work and it showed.”

One of the things that impresses Nicholson the most about Lewis is the emotion he shows is excitement when one of his teammates does something good. That’s what Nicholson wants to happen.
Nicholson also likes Lewis’ approach to practice this week.

“It has trickled into practice this week with his attitude and his mental approach to practice,” Nicholson said. “With every day, every week, every rep, every snap and every conversation, he gets better and better as a quarterback and that’s what I expect him to do.”