FFE Player of the Week: Peyton Lewis

Published: Oct. 27, 2023 at 11:37 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2023 at 11:45 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - Salem’s Peyton Lewis has a bright future ahead, committing to play for Tennessee next fall.

But if you ask the running back where his focus lies right now, it’s all about helping this year’s Spartans uphold the decorated reputation of Salem football.

WDBJ7 caught up with Lewis , whose five touchdown performance makes him our latest player of the week.

”He’s one of the those guys that’s, you know, he’s proud but he is never satisfied. He’s one of the hardest workers, one of the most humble young men we have and he hasn’t played his best yet. And he would tell you that. The best is yet to come,” said Salem Football Coach Don Holter

That’s the epitome of senior Peyton Lewis: how to be better.

In last Friday’s 51-3 win against Cave Spring, the Salem running back dominated the field, finding the end zone five times against the Knights. Lewis said the Spartans played pretty good Salem football in the second half, where he scored four of his five touchdowns and the Spartans defensively shut out Cave Spring.

“I always hold myself to a standard, and I try to at least get myself a certain amount of touchdowns. So, first half when I had one touchdown, I told myself I had to lock-in, and I really just had to put myself out there and perform like I usually do,” stated Lewis.

Before the Friday night lights and commitment to playing at a major SEC school, Lewis found his passion for football through his dad.

“He played football and every generational dad before him played football. So I kind of got introduced around fifth grade, and I fell in love with it because before that I was playing soccer and basketball, and I was always athletic. So I figured, you know, why not put my athleticism to something else? I tried out football, loved it, and you know, I don’t change my mind,” Lewis explained.

Earlier this year, Lewis announced his verbal commitment to playing at Tennessee. He said in his freshman season, he never thought he would be in this position to play collegiate football due to prior injuries.

In his freshman year, Lewis suffered a right ankle sprain and then in his sophomore season, he broke his left leg.

“It just wasn’t working out for me at that time, but my dad always told me to never give up, and I never did, and I don’t think anyone else should either,” added Lewis.

Not only does Lewis shine on the field, but he is swift on the track. This past spring, he earned his second state title in the 55-meter. Lewis said the best mixture for any football player is track, and two of his family members were also successful in the sport.

Lewis is hungry for more. A memorable moment he recalls from his career at Salem isn’t a win or a big touchdown: it’s when the Spartans lost to E.C. Glass in the region 4D Championship last season.

“I feel like that really got all of our heads straight and helped us put our foot in the ground and told us that, you know, senior year we’re going to come out different and adversity builds character. So, I’m glad that that happened to us. I’m blessed for every bad thing that’s happened in my life because at the end of the day that makes everyone better,” emphasized Lewis.

While he stands out on the field with his stats and accolades, what sets Lewis apart is his humility and character.

“The Lord blessed me with two daughters. If I had a son, I’d want him to be like him. Even with the accolades that he has and the scholarship offers and things like that, he’s an outstanding young man in the field house, in the school house. He makes the people around him better whether it’s in the classroom or on the practice field,” said Holter.

With only a few weeks left in his senior season, Lewis said to keep a watchful eye on this program.

“Keep your eyes out for Salem football. Not just our season, but seasons ahead of our time they’re going to be coming out different. Salem football is a tradition, and everybody’s going to come out competitive. Everybody wants to beat Salem, but are they willing to do it? Can they do it? That’s the question,” said Lewis.