LEWISBURG (WVDN) – Greenbrier East Spartans senior Luke Carola has played a lot of football in Fairlea.
The two-way lineman lines up on offense to punish the defensive front, then when the ball changes sides, he lines up as one of those d-linemen and tries to overpower his own position on offense.
But Carola was built for his role and according to him, he would not have it any other way.
“Playing both sides is exactly what I wanted to be doing as a senior. We have several playing both sides but I’m the only lineman playing both sides and it’s certainly more aggressive at times,” Carola explained.
Being out on the field for basically every snap is something that requires excellent conditioning and a motor that never stops or faulters. But Carola never thinks about giving up, and he remembers wise words from a loved one when things get tough.
“I am not a quitter. I hear the words from my late Pop, Richie Rodes, former WVU football player, saying, “Just when you think you are tired is really when you are at your best.” Carola said.
“Basically, he was telling me that most people don’t really know their own strengths, so challenge yourself. My grandfather told me he used the same motivation with my uncle Matt Rodes, who played at Concord College. I guess you could say it’s kind of in my blood,” he added.
Although his Spartans are just 1-3, Carola sees better things on the horizon.
“We have the talent and the skills to win the next six games. It’s all in your mindset and you got to be hungry, so to speak. Our team needs to work together towards the same team goal and that’s go after the win,” Carola said.
The Spartans had a bye week this past weekend and that is when a team can practice more and learn a little more about who they are and where they want to go.
“The off week can benefit myself and the team by giving our mind and body time to rejuvenate and maybe some time to collect our thoughts on what we need to do to improve. Also, this off week gives us a chance to get out with friends or family and watch other high school or college teams play some football,” Carola said.
When Carola does hit the field again this Friday, there is one thing he will be doing prior to running through the tunnel.
“My pre-game ritual and routine is listening to some music, getting ready to carry the flag on the field and be the leader of both Offense and Defensive line. It wouldn’t be the same without (coach) Ray Lee’s pre-game pep talks and (coach) Baker’s motivation,” Carola stated.
Being on the team multiple years can provide a lot of memories that will always be remembered, and that is no different with the two-way standout.
“Going to the playoffs my freshman year with Kyle King, Chris Hulmes, Marion Lawson and Tyler Boggs. It was a great memory for a first year Spartan. It set the scene for what I wanted to achieve throughout my high school years,” said Carola.
After high school, Carola has an idea about what he wants to do and that includes being on a grass or turf field somewhere.
“My plan after graduation is to continue my athletic aspirations while obtaining a college degree in environmental science and/or forestry,” he said.