Spending the majority of your summer vacation in the weight room probably doesn't sound very appealing.
However, it proved to be just what the doctor ordered for LaVille's Paul DeWitt.
"What has been different for me was my conditioning because I hit the weights hard this summer,'' recalled the talented 5-foot-9, 195-pound senior running back. "I was usually tired after my first carry, so I wanted to work up to where it's not like that anymore.
"So, I actually came to summer workouts this year and just made myself work through this stuff and pushed myself. I actually pushed myself harder than I have any other summer."
The results speak for themselves as the four-year performer has averaged 7.5 yards per rush with 159 touches for 1,196 yards with 20 total touchdowns.
His presence was definitely evident on October 14 when he helped the No. 2 (Class 2A) Lancers (9-0) secure their first unbeaten campaign and the outright Hoosier North Athletic Conference crown with 22 carries for 130 yards with four touchdowns in a 42-0 triumph over Culver Community.
Just for good measure, he also returned a blocked punt for a score to help his squad secure their first conference championship since winning the now-defunct Northern State Conference title in 1986.
"It means a lot to me and the other seniors because we have put in lots of work this summer," said DeWitt, who also has three receptions for 27 yards. "It all really started after we lost to (eventual Class 2A state champion) Andrean (35-8) in (last year's) regionals. Everyone started hitting the weights more than we ever have and it's really showing this season."
Since his parents got him interested in the gridiron more than a decade ago, DeWitt has steadily become more and more of a fixture in the offensive backfield.
After getting eight touches for 173 yards with four scores as a freshman, he increased that to 59 carries for 299 yards with four touchdowns in 2020.
Despite being limited to nine games, DeWitt still managed 158 rushes for 888 yards with four scores last fall as LaVille claimed its first sectional title since 2017.
"Paul DeWitt put in an immense amount of time this off-season to prepare for his senior football season," said LaVille head coach Will Hostrawser. "He worked a full-time job during the day and lifted afterward. Paul frequently showed up worn out from his job, but he found a way to just dig a little deeper to get the most out of his workouts. Our team slogan has been 'Want More - Do More - Get More', and Paul's effort has certainly embodied its true meaning."
Paul is equally grateful to his boss for the faith and confidence he has placed in him.
"Coach Will means a lot to me," explained DeWitt. "He's always there helping me through the new plays, helping me get my footwork right. The thing I like most about Coach Will is he trusts me with the ball. My senior class is also really special because we are doing things that haven't been done in a long time here at LaVille. We all have been playing together ever since little league, so we really want to accomplish something special before we move on."
Over the past three-plus seasons, DeWitt and his fellow senior classmates have compiled a 33-8 record. In addition to scoring 40 or more points 15 times, they have allowed nine or fewer points 24 times with eight shutouts.
"As a whole, this senior class in the LaVille football program is special," explained Hostrawser. "They are not afraid to put in the hard work necessary to find success. Even better, they are always looking to improve their game, both individually and collectively. They look out for one another while holding one another accountable at that same time. They are an absolute joy to coach."
Although DeWitt is uncertain of his future plans after graduation, he is hoping to get another crack at No. 3 Andrean (6-3) in the Class 2A Sectional 33 semifinal round on October 28.
"We are ready for the rematch," said DeWitt, who is also a member of the wrestling team. "I believe we have a way better chance this year due to the work we put in over the summer. It would mean a lot to make a deep tourney run because nobody else has made it and if we are the first to do it, we would be known forever here at LaVille."
However, before thinking about the 59ers, LaVille needs to first take care of business on October 21 when Whiting (4-4) pays a visit to Lancer Field for the sectional opener.