Wolves’ Jarrell finds family in football
HUNTINGTON - Thanksgiving is about family.
Luke Jarrell left Grace Christian School to attend Spring Valley High School as a freshman who had never played football and found a second family.
A family full of brothers as he sees it.
Jarrell anchors the left guard position on an offensive line that has powered the Timberwolves the past two seasons. Spring Valley went to the WVSSAC Class AAA state title game in his junior year and he played sparingly as a sophomore on a team that also went to the state title game.
Though he might find himself overshadowed on a line that features the likes of Doug Nester, Wyatt Milum, Cody Stanley and Zach Williamson - a roster of names that get a large portion of the media and college recruiters’ spotlights - Jarrell appreciates the anonymity.
“I don’t really see it that way,” Jarrell said of being overshadowed. “I just see it as those are my brothers.”
Jarrell, who has an older brother, watched his adopted brothers play in the Tri-State Youth Football League Turf Bowl while in middle school and as he watched them knew that football was a sport he had to try.
“I had friends on the team and it looked like fun,” Jarrell said. “I knew my dad played and I wanted to play to honor him.”
Jarrell’s father, Charles, passed away when his youngest son was just seven years old.
Since then, Jarrell has carried his father’s picture in his wallet and worn his wedding ring during the offseason.
He said a lot of people have filled the role of father in his life, but added it has been rough growing up without him and playing the sport he played.
Jarrell’s mother, Susan, who teaches in the Wayne County schools, enrolled her son in Kids In Motion at the Huntington YMCA where he began working out in preparation for what would become what she calls, “a job.”
“Before he started driving last year I was taking him twice a day to practice,” Susan Jarrell said. “Three times a day during the summer. It’s stayed that way. There is no off-season.”
Upon arriving at Spring Valley, Luke Jarrell began his high school career working out with Timberwolves offensive line coach Brent Terry. He said he told his mother after joining the team that the friends he watched in the Turf Bowl were all on the team too.
The unit quickly banded together hanging out together, eating together -- like brothers.
Jarrell has established himself as a leader too.
“When it comes to practice, Luke is all in,” Terry said. “He wants to get better at being an offensive lineman and wants to be better at his craft.”
Terry said playing left guard in the Spring Valley offensive scheme is a challenging position requiring Jarrell to pull and trap block. Terry said Jarrell is mentally tough, but has succeeded because of the time put in the weight room and the work on the practice field.
The results of that work should show on the field Friday when No. 2 Spring Valley (11-1) hosts No. 3 Capital (11-1) at the Wolves Den for a shot at a third state championship game appearance.
“That would really mean a lot,” Luke Jarrell said. “We’ve been there the last two seasons and we feel this year is the year. We’re all meshing together more. We have a lot more trust in each other.”
Wednesday evening the team came together with coaches, parents, members of the community and others for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. Susan Jarrell said approximately 600 people were served and is emblematic of the family atmosphere that has become Spring Valley football.
It’s a family she and Luke have come to know well.
Susan Jarrell said, “It’s something to really be thankful for.”