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Placer Hillmen's Jake Lewis enjoys being a bully on the field

By: Matthew Kimel / Auburn Journal
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Jake Lewis loves to make foes look like fools on the football field. “I like to go out there and hit people and make them look stupid,” the Hillmen’s two-way starting lineman said. And why is that? “I just like being able to find somebody and knock them down to the ground,” the 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior said. “It makes me feel good. You can do it without getting in trouble.” Lewis has made a number of opponents look silly this year, according to teammate Eddie Vanderdoes. “He loves doing that,” said Vanderdoes, who has played football with Lewis since the two were 8. “He really gets after it. He’s aggressive and loves to embarrass people and let them know he’s coming back to lay the wood.” Lewis has recorded 2.5 sacks this season, the second most on the team behind Vanderdoes (4.5). The duo, along with Stone Sander and Wyatt Decker, form a formidable pass rush with their strength and size. All four stand at least 6-feet tall and weight 200 pounds or more. Lewis’ presence on the defensive line means the opposition can’t solely focus on double teaming Vanderdoes. “He frees up not only Eddie,” coach Joey Montoya said, “but also the rest of the defensive line.” Because of their familiarity, Lewis and Vanderdoes have successfully executed set plays to attack other teams’ offensive linemen to try and bring pressure to the quarterback. Last week against Yuba City, they both took their shots at quarterback Taylor Elkins and combined for two sacks. “We want that ball and we want to make that play,” Lewis said. “We want to get that sack.” Lewis can recall playing junior pee-wee football with Vanderdoes when they both weighed about 100 pounds. “We were big compared to everybody else,” Lewis said, “but we were both little.” Since then, Vanderdoes said Lewis’ growth on the field has been phenomenal. “He was always a good player,” the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Vanderdoes said of Lewis. “He was always a little chubby, but now he’s bigger, faster, stronger.” In practice, Vanderdoes sometimes lines up against Lewis, a right guard. “He competes with me,” Vanderdoes said. “He doesn’t back down. He comes at me hard. He wants to beat me. He gives me everything he has. It’s always a great matchup.” Lewis is the lone returning starter on the offensive line for Placer (4-0). Montoya has noticed Lewis’ maturity over the years. “He’s a good leader for us,” the coach said. “... He’s a vocal guy, he’s passionate and guys respect him.” Playing next to right tackle Bryan Berube, Lewis feels his side of the line has been pretty solid this year. The Hillmen are averaging 347.8 yards a game on the ground and quarterback Peter Denham is averaging 20.75 yards per completion. “I feel like either way whether we’re going to run or pass,” Lewis said, “we’re going to gain yards.” It certainly helps when Lewis brings fear to his opponents. “Other teams are scared of him,” Vanderdoes said. “He comes at you hard every play. He’s not a nice person on the football field. “Off the field, he’s completely different — not the same person. One of the biggest qualities he’s always had is he’s good at when to turn on the switch. He knows when he’s off the field to turn off the switch.” And Lewis knows he can’t make fellow classmates look “stupid” on campus. “That wouldn’t fly over well with the administration,” he said. Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel for live updates from tonight's game at Woodcreek.