By Rubin E. Grant
Although his dad was an All-State linebacker at Homewood, Luke Reebals figured he was better suited for the other side of the ball.
The Briarwood Christian Lions have benefited from Reebals’ decision not to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
Reebals, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior running back, starred in Briarwood’s season-opening victories against Madison Academy (41-17) and Spain Park (42-8). He rushed for 309 yards on 32 carries, averaging 9.7 yards per carry, and six touchdowns. He also caught seven passes for 101 yards and another score, giving him 410 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns overall.
“The first two games were good,” Reebals said. “The first game wasn’t as hard of an opponent and we were able to just get out and play. Spain Park had a good defensive line and was a good test for our offense, but me and C.V. (junior quarterback Christopher Vizzina) were able to do a lot of running.”
Reebals ran for 172 yards and two scores on 18 carries and Vizzina ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries.
Briarwood head coach Matthew Forester described Reebals as a “dynamic playmaker.”
“He has God-given ability,” Forester said. “He’s got great vision and explosiveness.
“The first two games he was phenomenal. He worked hard in the offseason, so it’s great to see it all pay off.”
Reebals could have been making plays on defense like his dad, Eric, and his older brother, Cal, a former linebacker for the Lions. When Luke Reebals began playing football in elementary school, he also played linebacker, but once he got to middle school, he moved to running back.
“I played both ways in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, but I liked running back better,” he said. “I figured I could contribute more as a running back.”
Reebals is a versatile player who at times lines up at wide receiver, giving Vizzina another pass-catching threat. Reebals started at receiver as a sophomore.
With the ball in his hands, Reebals is a nightmare for defenders with his ability as a cutback runner. He said he picked that up from his dad.
“I think when I am running with the ball my best attribute is my vision,” Reebals said. “If a team is overpursuing, I can cut back. My dad told me that is the hardest thing for linebackers to deal with.”
When Reebals cuts, he can outrun defenders. “I feel like I accelerate real well,” he said.
Even though he put up big numbers in the first two games, Reebals said the important thing is that the Lions won.
“I don’t care about statistics,” he said. “I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help us win, whether that’s rushing for 100 yards, receiving for 100 yards or just making good blocks so Chris can get off passes.”
Reebals’ main goal coming into the season was staying healthy. He had some nagging injuries last season, including an ankle injury that required surgery at the end of the season.
“I just want to be able to play every game,” he said.
He also wants to help the Lions make a deep run in the Class 6A state playoffs. Briarwood was eliminated by Oxford in the second round in 2020.
The Lions opened play in Class 6A, Region 5 last Friday at home against Chelsea. They will visit Woodlawn in another region game this Thursday.
“I think our team has a chance to go really deep in the playoffs, but we have to keep getting better each week,” Reebals said.