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Lincoln’s Devine coming up big

Senior Dieumaitre Devine is in his second year as starting quarterback — but also plays defensive back, receiver and running back for the team.

Dieumaitre Devine considers himself a defensive back, but he also sees time at receiver, running back and quarterback for Abraham Lincoln. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Dieumaitre Devine is making many people proud.

Devine is a senior do-everything at Abraham Lincoln High School. It’s his second year as a starting cornerback, but this year he’s handling a much bigger workload. He is also starting at wide receiver, and since the Railsplitters are using multiple looks on offense, he plays a little running back and quarterback in the wildcat formation. Then he returns kickoffs and punts.

It’s a big workload. Almost as big as his inner circle who helps keep him hungry.

“I’m lucky, the biggest supporter is my mom,” Devine said.

“She works two jobs, but she’s always there for me and when she can, she comes to my games.

“My uncle (Floyd Devine) is the one who got me to work out. I never really did, but when I would have free time, he’d get me to do things like push ups or just work out. Now when I’m not at practice, school or work, I’ll call him up and we’ll go to the gym together. I work out a lot with him, he pushes me to get better.”

Family has definitely been there for Devine, but so have his coaches.

One of them is his longtime coach and friend Hakeem Cooper, who helps with the Lincoln defense.

“He is like a mentor, like almost a father figure because I grew up without a dad, but I’m lucky to have so many people step up and help me,” Devine said. “He’s been great. He tells me that I have to put a lot of work into things if I want to be successful and that means a lot to me because I definitely want to be successful.”

This year, he’s already enjoying success and he’s doing everything he can to help the Railsplitters follow in his footsteps.

Devine rushed for a 20-yard touchdown Friday in Lincoln’s 50–6 blowout of Strawberry Mansion in a game that was called early in the second half because of bad weather. The two teams agreed to nix the remainder of the game.

Devine was his usual stellar self at cornerback and he also did his thing on offense. His touchdown came when the Railsplitters were running out of the wildcat.

Last year, Lincoln didn’t try many gadget plays because it had Sammy Karr, one of the top running backs in the city, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards. This year, the Railsplitters are a talented group, but they don’t have that experienced player who can be counted on at running back, so they’re doing whatever they can to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers. And Devine might be the best playmaker on the team.

And if you see a little of Karr’s explosiveness in Devine, it’s because the pair worked out together during the summer.

“He helped me a lot when he was home because he knew this year was my senior year and he wasn’t going to be around to help,” Devine said. “The biggest thing he showed me how to do was just work. He told me that if you want to lead the team, you have to be ready to work harder than everyone else.

“He was great because he put in a lot of work. It’s why he’s doing great at (East Stroudsburg). He was so good here because he wasn’t afraid to put in more work than everyone. That’s the biggest thing he taught me.”

Now Devine is trying to pass that message on to his teammates.

“It’s not hard to get them ready because everyone wants to do better,” Devine said. “They’re really working hard. We lost the first game, which was tough, but coming back to beat Strawberry Mansion was really good. We just have to keep the progression, get better every week and learn how to play as a team.

“We really miss Sam because he’s such a great player, but I think we’re going to be better because we have a lot of good players. We have a team full of great athletes who all want to do well.

“We don’t have that one guy, and we really will miss Sam, but we have great athletes who will do well. As long as we have that, we have a chance to beat anyone.”

Devine also hopes to follow in Karr’s footsteps by playing college ball, and ideally he’ll do for other kids what Cooper does for him.

“I think I want to be a teacher and a football coach,” said Devine, who lives near Cheltenham and Torresdale avenues. “I can see how much influence a coach can have on a player. They can really make a difference, and I would like to do that.”

He also hopes he’s able to take care of his mom after he graduates. If he’s able to do that through football, that would be perfect, but if he has to do it by being a teacher, that works, too.

“I love my city, but I want to get us out of the city,” Devine said. “I want to give my mom everything. She’s been great to me. She takes care of everything, and I want to do the same for her.”

Just as he’s doing for Lincoln.

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