Lambiotte just what the doctor ordered
ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Versatility is part of Joel Lambiotte’s DNA.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior is the Fairland High School’s football quarterback, free safety and punter. He also is a standout guard on the basketball team, a stellar student and an accomplished guitarist who plans to attend medical school.
“If we lose Joel, I’m quitting,” Fairland football coach Melvin Cunningham joked. “We’re not going to play anymore.”
That was hyperbole from Cunningham, but Lambiotte certainly is a valuable player on a team that is looking to replace graduated stars and leaders Keedrick Cunningham and Chase Fisher. Lambiotte completed 119 of 188 passes (63.3 percent) for 1,452 yards and 10 touchdowns with eight interceptions as a junior. After adding 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason, the fourth-year starter hopes to better those numbers, as well as the Dragons’ 6-4 record and second-place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“I’ve gotten in the weight room every time I can,” Lambiotte said. “I’ve eaten a lot. I’ve
tried to gain weight without it hurting my speed. I know I have to run the ball a lot more and I have to be a big hitter on defense, too.”
Lambiotte is far from Fairland’s only weapon, but he’s crucial to the Dragons’ success. Cunningham rushed for nearly 1,700 yards and now plays at West Virginia State University. Fisher was regarded by many as the premier defensive player in the OVC. Wide receivers Ty Wilcoxon and Greg Keeney transferred.
Lambiotte, whose father Joe owns Riverside Physical Therapy in Proctorville, Ohio, has taken well to the leadership role, according to his coach.
“Joel’s never been a real vocal leader, but he’s stepped up,” coach Cunningham said. “He’s changed his body type to fit what we want to do.”
Quarterbacks coach Michael Jackson has worked diligently with Lambiotte, who has improved tremendously from his freshman season.
Cunningham, an All-American cornerback at Marshall University, likes what he sees, though, from Lambiotte in the secondary.
“That kid’s special,” Cunningham said. “I’ve been blessed to have him every year I’ve been here and seeing his evolution as a player is special. He tackles very well.”
Following his dad into the medical field is a priority for Lambiotte, although he said he’ll likely opt for a field other than physical therapy. He and his dad are close and often play music together.
“I like to play music,” Joel Lambiotte said. “I like to play the guitar. I don’t play video games at all or anything like that.”
Lambiotte is talented, but said he’s not on the level of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page just yet. In fact, the strong-armed passer doesn’t play much rock and roll at all.
“I’m more country style,” said Lambiotte, who said his favorite guitarist is John Mayer.
“He’s known more for his singing, but he’s a great guitar player, too,” Lambiotte said of Mayer.
Mayer is versatile. No wonder Lambiotte relates to him.