(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- For fans of Trey Lewis who grown accustomed to seeing him shine on football Friday nights, they won't have to travel too far to see him again on Saturdays.
On Wednesday, Lewis signed a letter of intent to play football for Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau keeping his talents close to home.
"I was looking for a university that could be like a home away from home and the college that made me feel the most comfortable," Lewis said. "I felt like SEMO was the best choice for that and felt like it was a good fit.
"I knew if I went there I would have a lot of support and my family could come watch games," added Lewis. "There wouldn't be a time where I couldn't get advice from someone I knew."
Lewis signed on with the Redhawks, who are part of the Football Championship Subdivision, as a quarterback in an offense similar to what he's used to after being the Sikeston Bulldogs' signal caller. He is part of the 22 junior college and high school players Southeast signed during National Signing Day.
"It's going to be a new learning experience," Lewis said. "I don't want to come in and rush things. The main thing about playing quarterback is learning the offense and going from there. It's all about decision making.
"I think I'll be fine once I get my feet wet."
Lewis, who stands at 6-foot, 2-inches and is 175 pounds, broke three individual Sikeston school records during the Bulldogs' 13-1 season last year in just his first and only year as a quarterback.
"They run a lot of the option and a lot of the stuff I did in high school," said Lewis. "I feel like I'll be comfortable with it. Playing the quarterback position in just the first year, I felt like I had a lot of upside -- a lot of potential with more growing to do.
"I feel like with just that one year and the success we had, made a lot of room for other things to happen.
Lewis holds school records in total touchdowns (40), passing yards (1,546) and total yards (2,957). He scored 24 rushing touchdowns and ran for 1,477 rushing yards for a per-carry average of 12 yards. He also led the Bulldogs to their second semifinals appearance in as many years.
"We're thankful for him to have that opportunity at SEMO," Sikeston football coach Kent Gibbs said. "Thank SEMO, number one. They think enough of his ability to sign him. We're excited from a standpoint of he's close enough to go watch when it gets to the point when he gets a chance to play and it's a good opportunity for him to get an education and be close enough for his family and his friends and the people that followed him at Sikeston to go up and watch him."
Lewis will not initially take the reigns under center for SEMO just yet. Though the Redhawks lose seven of their 10 all-Ohio Valley Conference selections and three of their four All-Americans, current quarterback Matt Scheible isn't one of them.
Southeast also signed Demarco Billups from Miller Career Academy in St. Louis as another quarterback.
"As far as the talks are right now, coach (Tony) Samuels wants me to come up early in the summer and start off playing quarterback so I can start to learn the offense," said Lewis. "Instead of redshirting, he wants me to switch to a wide receiver. That way, I can get some playing time right away or switch to the defensive side."
The Redhawks are fresh off one of the best seasons in school history after finishing 9-3 and earning their first playoff berth under coach Samuels, who signed a new five year contract on Tuesday to stay on as head football coach at Southeast. The Redhawks also won their first OVC championship.
Lewis is hoping to add to the Redhawks' good fortunes of late.
"Those guys had a good year," he said. "They were OVC champions and we're looking to keep things going and start a tradition. We want to have winning years.
"I look forward to suiting up."