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Fleming looks past winning state title to reach bigger goals

Trinity Episcopal Day School sophomore running back Dee Fleming runs hills with weights to stay in shape for football season. (Brittney Lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat)
Trinity Episcopal Day School sophomore running back Dee Fleming runs hills with weights to stay in shape for football season. (Brittney Lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Winning a state title wasn’t the end for Dee Fleming, it was the beginning.

The Trinity Episcopal Day School sophomore running back isn’t wasting time basking in the glory of a trophy won last year. Instead, Fleming said he’s focused on what lies ahead.

“There are better things to come,” Fleming said. “We won state, but we still have to get better for next year. You can’t just stop with that.”

That’s why Fleming is taking two hours of his day, four days a week, to work with new Trinity football coach Zach Rogel in the weight room and the football field to improve his strength, speed and flexibility.

“He worked out over the (Christmas) break, and then when we got back, on day one, he’s been full go,” Rogel said.

His regimen includes 45 minutes of what Rogel called “explosive” workouts in the weight room, followed by cone, rope and line drills on the field. He’ll also do work with track hurdles and ends the day running the hill next to the field.

“I want to make him the best athlete he can possibly be,” Rogel said. “He came to me wanting the extra work — I’m not making him do this.”

So far, Fleming said he’s been able to hit it off with his new coach, and he’s grateful for the time Rogel takes out of his day to work with him.

“He’s been a very good coach to me,” Fleming said. “He brings a lot to the table to help make me a better player. When I met him, he gave me a card and asked me about my athletic and academic goals, and he helps me with that.”

Academically, Fleming said he wants to keep making the headmaster’s list and prepare more for the ACT. Athletically, he wants to train harder and become “much better” than he was last season. He also said he wants to be more involved in the community.

“I have the two most important years (of high school) coming up,” Fleming explained. “I have to do everything I can to make those two years the best, and it has to start now.”

Having goals, Fleming said, are vital to be not just a successful athlete, but a successful human being.

“What is life without goals?” Fleming said. “If you want to go somewhere and be something, you have to have goals. Of course, you’ll have challenges, but that’s all part of reaching your goals.”

Rogel said he’s come away impressed with Fleming’s work ethic in the limited time he’s been able to work with him.

“He’s what a coach lives for,” Rogel said. “There’s a lot to respect for a kid that age having that much of a grasp on life. He makes the grades, and he works a job five to six days a week, so he’s pulling his own weight. He’s one of the most popular kids in the school — for the right reasons.”

Fleming said he realizes the importance of having a positive impact on people, particularly those younger than him.

“I want to be a role model for kids around here and help them see the right path,” Fleming said.

Fleming is the son of Tyrone and Tracy Fleming.