Luke Tarver dominates against Banks Academy
Published 11:01 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Luke Tarver has had an incredible season for Chambers Academy, but he had possibly his best game of the season on Friday against Banks Academy.
Tarver finished the game with 191 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 19 carries. A game that was billed as a top-ten showdown, ended up being a blowout because of Tarver and company.
“We knew and I knew that it was a big game, and we had to show the AISA that we were here,” Tarver said. “We were really locked in, and we were ready for it.”
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The running game has been a big part of what has made Chambers Academy an elite team this season. Tarver gave all of the credit for his big game to the offensive linemen.
“They always do good,” Tarver said. “There was never a bad play where anything got past. They really opened it up for us.”
Despite being on the small side for running backs, Tarver is considered to be a power back, and he’s one of the more physical players on the team.
“He just plays with such aggression and effort,” Head Coach Jason Allen said. “He just runs the ball with reckless abandon. Usually, one person doesn’t tackle him. You wouldn’t think that would be the case because he’s not a very big kid. He just refuses to go down every time he’s got the ball in his hands.”
“I want to hit him way harder than he can hit me,” Tarver said. “Kind of make them scared of you is what you want. It makes it easier if they’re scared.”
Tarver eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing as a sophomore. This season Tarver is already close to improving on that number, and he’s also worked to become one of the team leaders.
“This year I kind of see myself as someone who needs to lead and always, every play, do the best that I can do,” Tarver said. “It’s really driven me this year.”
The leadership role did not come initially for Tarver. With several seniors on the team last season, Tarver just played his role as running back. This season, he has made it a point to be more vocal.
“He’s one of our leaders offensively and defensively, and he’s made that step this year,” Allen said. “Last year as a tenth grader, there were times when he was too immature to be that guy. Everybody knows that he’s serious about what’s going on, and he wants to win.”
Tarver is not the biggest running back in the county, but that does not mean he does not have strength. Tarver has improved in the weight room by doing every workout to failure.
Every athlete says that they spend time watching film, but few are studying it as closely as Tarver does on a weekly basis.
“I watch it all the time,” Tarver said. “I get in trouble in class for watching it, not paying attention.”
The amount of film study that Tarver does has not only led him to become a better running back, it has also helped him be able to tell the other positions what they should be doing during a game.
“He knows what the linemen are doing,” Allen said. “He understands who they’re blocking and why they’re blocking them a certain way. He’s got a lot of football IQ.”
Chambers Academy has one goal this season, to win the state championship. Tarver mirrors that goal as the team’s leader, and he only wishes the team had an opportunity to prove itself against Lee-Scott Academy again.
“We want to be the best team in the state,” Tarver said. “We want to be able to dominate every team we play. We wish we could play Lee-Scott again. The whole team knows where we want to be. We want to be in the state championship and win it.”
Tarver is just a junior, but it is never too early to start planning for the future. After high school, Tarver would like to play football in college if he received a Division I scholarship. If not, Tarver plans on joining the workforce right after high school.