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Air Force wide receiver Brandon Lewis scores a touchdown against Louisville in the First Responder Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021 in Dallas.

Brandon Lewis didn’t plan his moves, they just happened.

Lewis caught a deep pass, put on the breaks to let the Louisville cornerback overrun him, then took a stutterstep and cut that left another defensive back falling backward and grabbing nothing but air. The final nine yards he was able to coast into the end zone.

“I don’t know, it just kind of happened,” said the Air Force receiver after a day that saw him catch touchdowns of 64 and 61 yards en route to a career high five catches for 172 yards. “I don’t try to think too much when I’m playing football.”

Lewis’ game allowed him to finish the season with 20 catches for 600 yards, the first time an Air Force player has averaged 30 yards per catch in a season. He scored four touchdowns this season on catches that covered 92, 64 and 61 yards and a run that went for 41 yards.

“We all know B-Lew can do it,” quarterback Haaziq Daniels said. “It’s just a matter of getting opportunities. Seeing him do what he did today was amazing to watch.”

While the long catches in the Dec. 28 31-28 victory over Louisville in the First Responder Bowl will be the memorable highlights — they were the third and fourth longest catches in Air Force bowl history and his yardage set a team record in a bowl game — it was a pair of shorter catches that factored nearly as large in the victory.

He caught a 9-yard pass on a fourth-and-6 play that helped set up a touchdown, and his first-down catch on third-and-6 helped maintain a drive in the fourth quarter that took more than 9 minutes off the clock and ended in a field goal that stretched the lead to 10 points.

It was a career game. And it was Lewis’ last. And he seemed at peace with that.

“I feel like I could have been doing this all season,” Lewis said. “I’m glad I did do it in my final game. I just feel blessed to be here. I’m thankful.”

Contact the writer: brent.briggeman@gazette.com

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