By Joseph Schutz
Kyle Lewis is the most athletic person on Cal Poly's football team this year. His explosiveness is put on display every time he steps onto the field, burning defenses and scoring touchdowns. As a senior slot back, Lewis has a lot of opportunities to score and has been a big weapon for Cal Poly's struggling offense.
Lewis comes from a football family. His older brother, Isiah Hennie, is also a slot back for Sacramento State and his younger brother, Terrell Burgess, is a nickel back for Utah State. "Tyrell and Isiah are my best two friends in the world." If you have siblings, then you know there is nothing better than beating them. Kyle Lewis was 3-0 against Isiah until Sacramento State won last week.
Lewis is in his final season as a Mustang. He came into the program five years ago as a redshirt freshman with much of the senior class. In his five years, Lewis noticed the team dynamic changing every year. "The spokesperson for the team usually changes according to who is starting and who has the major role. Last year we had Dano, so we had a figure who was calm and smooth when he operated on and off the field. I think the culture evolved around the seniors this year more than usual." Even with Dano still around, new leaders emerged from this senior class.
Lewis, himself is a leader this year. His roles on the team include mentoring younger players and setting examples on and off the field. Specifically, Lewis teaches the younger running backs. "I can slow the game down for them. That's another role I've taken. Getting everyone on the same page is important because Coach always says that we run the offense. If we're not working, nothing will work for our offense." Sadly, Lewis' explosiveness can't be taught.
Kyle Lewis is the fastest man on Cal Poly's team. Watching Lewis play, one can easily tell how many different speeds he has. Once he turns the jets on, its almost impossible to catch him. When asked if he is the fastest man on the team, Lewis replied, "I don't even know who would argue with that."
Lewis lives for the moments in the open field. "When I'm lined up with someone who I'm gunna burn, I'm in my mind thinking about how much work I've put in and this person has no idea. He's gunna feel every workout and every late night session." As a slotback, Lewis sometimes gets the opportunity to go 1-on-1 with cornerbacks. He has been a great option for quarterbacks Khaleel Jenkins and Jake Jeffrey this season.
Lewis gets a lot of carries – 61 last season and 46 so far this season. He also is second on the team this season with 21 receptions, five for touchdowns. When the Mustangs need a big play, they turn to Lewis to break away from the defense. "I'm the touchdown guy. I'm the home run hitter. I'm the guy in the fourth quarter when we need a touchdown fast. I've accepted that role." Lewis doesn't take this role lightly. "I like the pressure when my name is called for a big play. I've put in the work and I'm confident that I can get things done when the team needs me."
Lewis' favorite moments playing for Cal Poly are some of the team's biggest games. The Montana game is his favorite overall moment. "That was crazy to be in a game like that. You see that kind of stuff on TV or in movies when they win the game in the final seconds by a field goal." Not only was the game unbelievable, but the ambiance wasn't anything like a Cal Poly home game. "The atmosphere was amazing in Montana with the stadium that not a lot of people don't know about because it's not FBS. We played in front of 25,000 loud fans and won."
Another one of his favorite moments was traveling to Arizona State. "We didn't win the game, but coming down to that fourth quarter being tied in front of a 70,000-person crowd was awesome. I was thinking, 'Wow, we really have them on their heels right now.' " Lewis loves the challenge, and playing at a big school like Arizona State was a dream come true. Another silver lining for him was the fact that he played well against tough competition. "Dudes were All-Americans and on ESPN every day. Some of those plays we completely embarrassed them and that's because they underestimated us. They're on my highlight tape now."
Lewis' highlight reels are impressive, but people don't know that he makes them himself. He has always been a fan of videography and photography. Eventually he would like to be a sports broadcaster or a film maker. "Coming out of high school, my original plan was to go to film school. I even took classes for it. I was kind of bummed Cal Poly didn't have a film major."
When Lewis isn't at practice, working out, or traveling for a game, he enjoys the finer things in life. He's a big fan of expensive food, especially Ruth's Chris. He also has a crazy metabolism. "It's not a bad thing but I can eat whatever I want. People say, 'Watch what you eat'. But I ate a pint of ice cream last night." Last season Lewis ate an entire pint of ice cream before the Portland State game and had two touchdowns. The Mustangs won that game and history repeated itself two weeks ago.
Joseph Schutz is a senior journalism major from Sacramento.