Athlete Worth Watching: Ka’Ron Lewis
Dec 01, 2018 12:00AM
● By Brian Saucedo
By Tom Worgo Photography by Steve Buchanan
South River senior Ka’Ron Lewis didn’t have the resources growing up that many other kids did.
Lewis’ mother, Pamela Spencer, raised five kids on her own, including Ka’Ron. That’s a big reason why Lewis didn’t play any recreational sports before attending the Edgewater school.
“I always wanted to, but the money wasn’t there back then to afford sports,” the 6-foot-3, 300-pound Lewis explained. “I just had to wait for high school.”
Once Lewis started playing football and wrestling in high school, he made up for the lost time—quickly. The mammoth Lewis started a few games as a freshman at both the offensive and defensive line because of his size, quickness, and athleticism. “We didn’t get many kids coming through the program with the size he had,” South River Football Coach Ed Dolch recalls. “He was a big strong kid, and he developed pretty rapidly.”
Indeed. As a senior, he’s a sought-after commodity with colleges. More than 20 schools have recruited Lewis, including Virginia Tech, Maryland, Boston College, and Navy. “He is a late bloomer on the radar of colleges,” Dolch says. “He really didn’t come onto the scene until his junior year. It was the first time people really had heard of him.”
The 17-year-old Lewis had official visits to the Naval Academy in August and Monmouth College in New Jersey in November. “I am looking for a place that can get me physically and mentally tough, and that will allow me to contribute to the success of the team,” Lewis says. “I am looking for a place where I can get a good education and set me up for life.”
Lewis says colleges want to see him put together solid back-to-back seasons. If that happens, the interest could only grow in him this school year. He plans to commit to a college in February, which is the month players sign National Letters of Intent.
“Schools want to see if I am the real deal and have a good senior year,” Lewis says. “It’s understandable for me coming out of nowhere.”
Lewis says he wouldn’t be in a position to play college football if it weren’t for wrestling. “It helps with speed, agility, stamina, and discipline,” says Lewis, who won a heavyweight state championship as a junior.
Dolch agrees that wrestling has benefited Lewis greatly. “He is so well conditioned,” the coach says. “He can play every snap at a high level, which a lot of guys that are 300 pounds can’t do.”
That’s why Lewis doesn’t just concentrate on football in the offseason. He worked out with the wrestling team and trained more than ever heading into the 2018 football season.
“I just focused on getting bigger, stronger, and faster,” Lewis says. “I got in the weight room as much as I could. Football workouts two days. Wrestling workouts two days. I just had to put the work in to get better.”
What Lewis accomplished in 2017 is unusual: He earned Anne Arundel County Public Schools Coaches Association First-Team honors as a defensive end and made the Second Team as an offensive lineman. He finished the season with 13 tackles (8 for loss), three sacks, forced a fumble, and also recovered one.
Lewis also intercepted a pass in a 29-8 win over Chesapeake and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown. “He is a very impactful player on both sides of the ball,” Dolch says. “He is a kid who doesn’t have a background of youth football. But he had some physical gifts. The biggest thing was his work ethic and willingness to learn. That allowed him to pick up on the little nuances of the sport and just develop so quickly.”
Lewis also developed rapidly as a wrestler. He went a combined 21-0 during his freshman and sophomore seasons on the junior varsity. Then came his memorable junior season. He went 37-6 and won a Class 4A/3A state title.
Lewis credits his development as a wrestler to working out two seasons with Brendan Woody, who won a state championship in 2016. “He just kept getting better throughout the [2017–2018] season,” South River Wrestling Coach John Klessinger says of Lewis. “It was his first year as a varsity wrestler. Kids that beat him early on, he beat later in the year. He is strong and explosive. I thought he could have competed at a high level collegiately.”