The way Phoebus Coach Jeremy Blunt tells it, his team needed inspiration. Rival Denbigh High had the ball on their own 10-yard line. Blunt spoke to his team during timeout.
His junior star defensive lineman Harry Lewis made a guarantee.
"I called the timeout and got the guys back in control," Blunt recalls. "Harry looks at me in this tough game and looks me right in the eye. He says, 'I'm gonna make a play, coach.'"
On the next snap, a defensive tackle got his mitt on the ball, knocking it free. Lewis fulfilled his promise, scooped it and scored.
Phoebus went on to roll the Patriots, 49-21.
"To look into his eyes and see that intensity and sincerity will forever be in my mind," Blunt says. "It's pretty spectacular. I'll be telling kids about that for years."
Lewis will start for the fourth consecutive season when the Phantoms kick off in August. He started as a defensive tackle as a freshman and sophomore.
Blunt worked him in at defensive end in his 4-3 scheme as a 10th-grader. By the time last season rolled around, he felt Lewis was ready to play defensive end.
The 6-foot-2, 260-pound lineman finished with 60 tackles and 11 sacks.
"I love to rush the passer and read off the offensive lineman to see what I'm gonna do," Lewis explains. "I'm really agile for my size. If I played basketball, I'd be point guard."
Lewis laughs as he talks about football and the next chapter of his life. His 4.1 GPA highlights his intelligence. As soon as he answers questions, his charisma overflows.
Blunt's seen it firsthand since the defensive end was a boy. He coached Lewis when he was 7-years-old and moved up as his pupil did.
"He's a great kid. We had a kid here who had a broken leg and his mother couldn't get him from the wheelchair to the car," Blunt said. "Harry happened to be in the area, so he assisted her. She was overwhelmed a high school kid would help like that. He's determined and motivated. You know without a shadow of a doubt how well he'll lead your team".
On the field, Lewis uses his strength to rush the passer. He's solid in run defense and can play either strong- or weak-side. Blunt touts his ability to stretch plays out on the weak-side so the linebackers can make the play.
It takes discipline and understanding of the game — many high schoolers want to chase up the field — but in Blunt's system, Lewis thrives.
For the Hokies, it's a good thing. Much of Phoebus' defensive ideas have come from Bud Foster's coaching clinics. Blunt makes clear that the Phantoms love the Virginia Tech program.
He affectionately refers to outside linebackers and assistant defensive line coach Cornell Brown as a friend.
Brown's connection with freshman Marshawn Williams after his transfer from Hampton impressed Blunt.
Williams was recruited by Curt Newsome. When Newsome left, Brown started from scratch. He built a strong relationship and has already built another with Lewis.
"He comes into our school with a lot of honor in his recruiting and he's very compassionate," Blunt says of Brown. "He has integrity. I can see why Harry would respect and like him because I do myself. He has an open-door policy at Phoebus and he knows that."
Brown's relationship with the Phantoms and their staff certainly won't hurt Tech in Lewis' recruitment. The young man hasn't narrowed his list and likely won't do so until after summer.
Lewis does admit his interest in the Hokies is high. He says they'll be "one of my top schools."
He's honest in self-appraisal of his game. Despite playing fundamentally sound, he knows he must be able to quiet the voice that makes him seek perfection on every snap.
"As a player, I've got to make sure I don't second-guess myself," Lewis says. "Sometimes, I just need to play in the situation."
Blunt cites the need for better hips as Lewis' main weakness at the next level. For most high school kids, that comes in time.
He thinks Lewis can play at 260 at the Division I level. With the kid's drive in the weight room, he might even put on some pounds.
Lewis squats 675, a school record. He power cleans 255, benches 365 and dead lifts 595 pounds.
In school, he loves marketing and history, but isn't sure which he'd prefer to study in college. He will visit Tech for the spring game on April 26. His second cousin and former Phoebus-great Elan Lewis has given him rave reviews of Blacksburg.
"Education is the most important thing," Harry Lewis says. "My parents push me real hard and I just love to learn."