By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
Zach Middleton and Cori Lewis have been close friends since second grade.
It sure was a plus for the Bishop Kelley football skill-position duo with the success they had in high school, helping the Comets to playoff appearances. Now seniors, Middleton and Lewis are college bound for Oklahoma State and Army respectively. They, along with other gridiron athletes across town as well as the country, signed letters of intent l on national signing day.
Their favorite moment with Kelley came when they hooked up on a 60-yard halfback pass their junior season that proved to be the game-winner in a 34-33 victory.
“I completely remember it in my mind when I threw a touchdown pass to Cori to win the game,” said Middleton, who played running back and cornerback on defense. “We were then on defense. They (McGuinness) got a couple of good plays, then we shut them down on their last series and we got the ball back. That was by far my most memorable game.”
“When he threw the ball, I remember catching that (halfback pass) and running and you could just hear the crowd,” said Lewis, a wide receiver who also played safety on defense. “Like the moment I catch it and then when I run through the end zone I turn around and see my teammates running towards me. It’s just like a big moment, I had the whole team involved.”
Middleton, 5-11, 190, is known as a confident, strong, fast and hard worker at his position.
“I think I outwork most people on the field,” Middleton said.
What led him to the Pokes is nothing new.
“It’s the environment there. When you’re there, you just feel like you’re at home,” Middleton said.
A good impression was made too.
“All the coaches are real people. They’re not going to sugar coat anything,” he said. “Everything they say to you is the truth. They don’t sweet talk you and tell you lies.
“It’s an easy decision because it is a well-known football program and it’s an hour up the road for my parents and family to come up and watch me too. It’s not a big haul for them to get there,” said Middleton, who chose OSU over Iowa State and Army.
A favorite NFL running back of the Cowboy signee is Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings.
“He is so quick,” he said. “His cuts are insane, but I am also a Vikings’ fan so I may be biased,” he said laughing. “But I also followed Dalvin Cook when he was at Florida State. That’s who I try to emulate in the game.”
Middleton hopes to give the best of his ability to provide for OSU. “I want to win a Big 12 Championship,” he said.
Lewis is known to be explosive as a receiver.
“I play smart and I have to use that to my advantage and see what I can do with it,” he said.
Family ties played a role in Lewis’ decision to go to West Point (N.Y.).
“When (Army) offered me, it was always in the back of my mind. I then talked with my grandpa and he served in the Army and he inspired me to make my final decision.”
Lewis, 5-9, 170, chose Army over Northern Illinois, Western Iowa and Central Oklahoma. He will play running back at Army. He played that spot before high school and the Black Knights rely on a ground attack.
“Army has the triple-option, so I’ll be used as a slot running back,” Lewis said.
The NFL receiver he likes to watch is Stefon Diggs, who also plays with the Minnesota Vikings. “By far, he has the best routes,” Lewis said.
Lewis is hoping to play immediately as a freshman, but if not, by his sophomore season and throughout.
“That’s the goal,” he said. “Then I hope to make it to the NFL. If not, then I hope to get my engineering degree and minor in business and serve for five years and be an engineer in the Army. Then after those five years, I can choose where I want to go.”
Lewis said he looks forward to when the Black Knights play OU at home next Sept. 26. He said it will be super fun.