Dennie Ready To Power Through 2018, Fortius Project
Prior to last season, the last time the Lewisburg Patriots had a winning season in football, 2019 offensive lineman Josh Dennie was in the sixth grade. It was also the only year that the Patriots have ever had a taste of postseason football since the school opened in 2006.
Despite failing to reach the playoffs again, the Patriots finished with their best season since that 2012 campaign this past season. A strong foundation has been laid by the senior class before Dennie. He and his other teammates are ready for the task of becoming a well known commodity in DeSoto County as well as class 5A as a whole.
“Last season was huge in building up this program,” Dennie told SES Mississippi. “We truly came together as a team for probably the first time since 2012 and it made all the difference in the world. We lost quite a few seniors, but we are working hard and figuring out who is going to step up this spring. I think if we work hard and continue to listen to our coaches, we should roll right on into next season and pick up right where we left off.”
Dennie is part of a DeSoto County community that may be rapidly growing, but is still welcoming because of a strong family like atmosphere that surrounds the northwest area of the state near Memphis. Dennie can be seen playing the guitar and helping lead worship for his youth group at Hernando Baptist Church. He is also seen on the gridiron playing for a community that craves football on Friday nights in the fall.
“Playing in DeSoto County is pretty sweet because it seems like everybody knows everybody or at least knows of them. It’s also awesome because each team has such a loyal fanbase in their community. It’s cool to be apart of something that brings the community together,” Dennie said.
Dennie is led by third year head coach Matt Gehrke, who is playing a big role in helping his players not only on the football field, but inside their hearts and minds as well.
“Coach Gehrke is a leader in all aspects of life, beyond football,” Dennie said. “He’s a great football mind and he’s brought back a sense of family to Lewisburg football, but more than his goal is for us to become productive citizens, hubands, and fathers. One of my favorite memories of Coach Gehrke is being at a football camp and walking past his bed and seeing him on his knees, nose deep in his Bible. He is a leader in the truest sense of the word.”
Dennie might be undersized, but don’t be fooled, his will and determination will prove doubters wrong. He models his game after an offensive guard who protects Tom Brady.
“I like to compare myself to Shaq Mason and I use him as motivation because we are both ‘undersized’ offensive lineman, but we get the job done,” Dennie said.
Going into the 2018 season, the Patriots return three starters on the offensive line, Dennie being one of them. Dennie will use the Fortius Project combine this week to focus on improving his fundamentals and coming back to Olive Branch as a better lineman as a whole.
“I would describe my performance last season as average. This year I’m going to step up and stand out. I definitely will be working on footwork and body control in working up to the next level of defenders,” Dennie said.
***Photo Courtesy of April Gentry