By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Spackenkill’s Dhyquem Lewinson gave several pre-game speeches last year and most of them had the same ending, with the star running back in tears.
The fact that Lewinson could lead the Spartans onto the field but couldn’t play broke his heart. Projected as a breakout star, Lewinson missed six games last year with a broken collarbone.
“It was horrible,” Lewinson, a junior, said. “It was the worst pain that I have ever felt in my life. Football has always been my sanctuary and something I love to do. For it to be taken away was horrific. I cried before every game.”
Lewinson experienced much different emotions after Friday’s 42-21 season-opening win over Rondout Valley. He put on quite the performance, rushing the ball 15 times for 213 yards and five touchdowns, including a 70-yarder.
“It was amazing because I had been thinking about it for so long,” said Lewinson, who also plays defensive tackle for Spackenkill. “I woke up at 5 a.m. on Friday and had to go back to sleep so I didn’t burn all my energy before the game. To come back and have a game like that was incredible. I give all the credit to my offensive line because we put in new formations and packages. They picked them all up and got the job done.”
Lewinson burst upon the Section 9 scene as a freshman, rushing for 1,001 yards with 18 touchdowns. He was expected to put up even bigger numbers in 2016, but broke his collarbone in the second week of the season. Lewinson didn’t return until Spackenkill’s 28-13 loss to Marlboro in the Class B playoff quarterfinals.
He was a shell of himself and Lewinson said doctors cleared him for the game, but recommended that he should sit out. Lewinson, who is 5-foot-9, 225 pounds, worked hard in the offseason and his effort paid off against Rondout Valley. In addition to his 70-yard score, Lewinson cruised into the end zone on runs of 4, 7, 26 and 40 yards. He had 165 rushing yards at halftime.
“I’m really excited for Dhyquem,” Spackenkill coach Clint DeSouza said. “The game means a lot to him and he works extremely hard. To have a season cut short and come back and be healthy and put on that kind of show was good to see. When Dhyquem is him, we are us.”
The Spartans will certainly need Lewinson to be on his game for the rest of the season. Perhaps, Spackenkill’s most critical part of the year comes over the next two weeks. Spackenkill plays at defending Class B champion New Paltz on Friday and hosts Marlboro the following week. New Paltz ended Marlboro’s five-year run as Class B champions last year.
“Those are two great teams,” Lewinson said. “We are just going to stick together and see what happens. If times get tough, we have to pull together. We are excited about those games, but we have to just take one at a time.”