Lewis has celebrity status at Prim Stadium
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 7, 2006 - Sulphur Springs had a regular celebrity in the house on Friday.

Damione Lewis, a 1996 SSHS graduate and currently playing defensive line for the Carolina Panthers, made a special effort to fly in between practice Friday morning and team meetings on Saturday to personally be in attendance at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He was accompanied by his wife and daughter.

Lewis' presence was evident, as he continually signed autographs for youngsters during the entire first half.

Another Hall of Fame inductee, Lee Sharber, made a long trip as well, flying his family from North Carolina for the ceremony.

Kwaesi Palmer and Vic Brittain both made the trip from the metroplex, while J.J. Rorie could be not be at the ceremony due to business obligations.

About a dozen Hall of Fame members in attendance were also introduced in the pregame ceremony.

ACHES AND PAINS - The Wildcats, already without three starters on offense, found out Friday afternoon they would also be without receiver Tyler Rhoades, who jammed his neck in practice on Wednesday. ... In his place, B.J. Rodgers caught a 50-yard TD pass, and Chris Thompson, also making his first start, had six catches for 45 yards. DaQualin Evans and Jeff Beck had two catches each. ... The Wildcats were successful on all four PAT attempts - two of them on Jon Holt kicks, while others were two-point conversions. ... SSHS coach Greg Owens praised the play of L-E nose guard Devin Bruce, who commanded double teams for much of the game.

DEFENDER - SSHS linebacker Josh Dunn led the team in tackles with nine. The Wildcat defensive line also were productive as A.D. Miles had eight tackles, DaMarcus Johnson seven, Bill Hood six, Jamal Freeman five and Tyler Francis three. ... Chad Rocker and Stephan Petty had six stops each, and Darius Hall added five. ... After L-E had gone up 40-30, the Wildcats fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Leopards recovered at the 12-yard line with 4:51 left in the game. But, the SS defense held them out of the end zone, led by Francis and Kaylon Page, who knocked away a fourth-down pass.

JUST FOR KICKS - L-E quarterback, punter, kicker Will Middlebrooks returned from an ankle injury for the game. It didn't appear to bother him punting, as he averaged 46.5 yards on four kicks, but he did miss an extra-point and a 37-yard field goal and had another extra point kick tipped by Darrell Franklin. ... A SSHS penalty cost them two points when the Wildcats were flagged for roughing the L-E passer on a failed conversion attempt. The Leopards then were successful on the replay.

NEXT WEEK - The Wildcats will go into District 11-4A action on Friday at Mount Pleasant (3-2). Both teams are coming off losses as the Tigers fell to Carthage on Friday, 24-21. ... All of the other district teams were idle this weekend. On Friday, Lindale (5-0) plays at Paris (4-1), and North Lamar (4-1) gets the unenviable task of hosting the state's No. 1 team, Texas High (5-0).

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