In looking for words and phrases to describe Warren Hills’ Ricky Lewis, various ones indicative of football success leap out.

‘Accountable’ could be one particular.

“When Ricky will make a mistake, he owns it,” 1st-yr Blue Streak head coach Marcus Gurdineer reported.

‘Improving’ one more.

“You can see his amount of perform elevate above the time,” Gurdineer stated,

And ‘pride’, also.

“We constantly concentration on a person issue, to continue on to have a football method our community is happy of,”  mentioned Lewis, a senior outside the house linebacker and operating again.

Unquestionably Blue Streak enthusiasts have a large amount to be happy of in a devoted, decided and dynamic participant these kinds of as Lewis, who can enable make host Warren Hills even prouder of its team Thursday evening (7)  in the 95th renewal of their vintage rivalry with Hackettstown, the oldest football rivalry established completely in Warren County. The teams participate in for the trophy of the “Beater Board” that honors the county’s agricultural heritage.

The Blue Streaks (2-4) lead in the all-time sequence, 45-43-6, but were thumped last season, 48-21, by the Tigers (1-3).

“We’re not centered on (past season) at all,” reported Lewis, a Washington Township resident. “This yr every thing is distinctive. We’re a very effectively-geared up team with fellas that step up and make performs. This period, the team is all alongside one another and centered on becoming the very best we can be.”

The finest news Warren Hills obtained in a while was a couple of months again when it was introduced the Hackettstown video game would be played following all. The Tigers, battling with COVID-19 challenges, experienced shut their application down for the time in late Oct, but battled back for one activity, the year finale with the Blue Streaks.

“Playing Hackettstown as seniors is a little something me and the relaxation of our class have seemed ahead to for a pretty very long time,” Lewis claimed. “Making this match come about is so unique. Immediately after Hackettstown obtained shut downs, we talked to our Athletic Director, they talked to their superintendent, to appear for a way to get the sport performed. I have been coming to these video games given that I was a minor child, seeing all the varsity players.”

That experience indicates Lewis is aware of what the ancient rivalry is all about.

“Sports are a big aspect of our local community, as properly as Hackettstown’s, and it’s definitely exclusive we’re obtaining the probability to be on the industry alongside one another,” Lewis said. “We’re all grateful for the likelihood to play one more match, and it will be a thing exclusive. We want to go out and convey the Board again household.”

If Warren Hills is profitable Thursday, the 5-foot-7, 175-pound Lewis, one of the Blue Streaks’ captains, will very likely participate in a major part, as he has all time.

“Ricky is 1 of our captains, and just about every one of them has performed a fantastic career,” Gurdineer reported. “Ricky is consistent, wise, and an crucial piece of our protection.”

The Blue Streaks’ protection would appear to be peaking at the proper time. In the last a few video games, Warren Hills has authorized just 35 details, likely 2-1 in people online games right after an 8-7 reduction to Plainfield last 7 days. And in opposition to Belvidere, which operates a triple-solution assault that is in some strategies related to the Tigers’, the Streaks permitted just 14 details and 304 yards of whole offense, which, towards a triple-choice workforce, isn’t poor.

“Everybody has been undertaking their job and towards the past handful of groups the protection has been enjoying solid,” Lewis claimed. “When we enjoy with the right mentality and right speed and are intense proper from the start out of online games, we get excellent final results.”

However, although Lewis and his teammates might not be thinking about 2019′s loss to Hackettstown, Warren Hills fans anxious about defense might be. The Tigers ran for 406 yards, with above 10 yards per carry, and scored all 7 of their touchdowns on the ground.

“We have to continue to keep our eyes in the proper area and be mentally focused,” Lewis stated. “We have to be disciplined, but we can’t permit our typical factor of protection get absent. We have to rip on them hard, attack the ball and make massive plays.”

And, maybe, have short recollections ought to Hackettstown strike a big perform or two, which is probable.

“Next participate in is a new enjoy,” Lewis reported. “You have to be great at regardless of what moment you find. We have to be good at the future performs.”

Lewis mentioned there is a single key spot where Warren Hills wants improvement.

“Over the previous several games we have experienced slow starts and have not picked up the rate until the second or third quarter,” Lewis explained. “We have to set the tempo appropriate absent and play a four-quarter sport.”

About people 4 quarters, Lewis could seem at managing back again for a couple snaps. The strategy was for him to carry the ball extra, but Gurdineer mentioned at times options have to improve.

“Ricky had a negative sprained ankle that held him up a little bit, and he had to struggle again,” Gurdineer claimed. “With the coronavirus, everything was shorter, together with obtaining physically ready. We experienced to get him all set to be really bodily to enjoy effectively at linebacker, and he has not gotten the reps as significantly at managing back again with Jon (Lainez) there, who does not play anyw
here else. But when Jon went down towards Belvidere, Ricky came in and took an inside zone play for a 15-garden achieve.”

Lewis claimed it is a mentality.

“You never know when your title is likely to be called,” Lewis mentioned. “You have to be the finest you can be just about every participate in. I get mental reps on the video game strategy, and I am ready to be the upcoming guy up.”

Lewis could possibly not be completely ready to cling up his Blue Streak uniform, however, even if Hackettstown is the final sport.

“The brotherhood that we have at Warren Hills — it’s actually distinctive to me,” he reported. “We’re so fortuitous we get to do what we do each and every solitary day at follow. And prior to COVID, the staff dinners, the team outings, that special bond you have. It helps make it distinctive listed here to have the entire community like we do — we know we continue to have them with us pretty much.”

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Brad Wilson may possibly be attained at [email protected].