MABEN – West Oktibbeha could not ask for more out of their senior running back
In his four years playing for the Timberwolves, Tiberias Lampkin has managed to make quite the name for himself on both sides of the football.
“He is a hard worker with an amazing work ethic,” West Oktibbeha coach Adam Lowrey said. “You just can not ask anymore from him. He is constantly working out, doing drills after practice, (and) he just never quits. Some people think he overdoes it, but those are the things that make Tiberias special and make him so fun to coach.”
Lowrey, who has been coaching Lampkin since the 8th grade, emphasized that hard work by pointing out that because he was so strong coming out, he almost played his senior season at offensive tackle instead of running back. Now he looks at Lampkin as a leader, not only as a running back, but across all facets of the field.
“Lampkin is out there running the ball and he’s doing a great job at that, but he is strong on both sides,” Lowrey said. “Tiberias doesn’t take plays off. He never wants to come out. He performs all out all the time. It is that energy that translates to the rest of the team and makes them want to give it their all as well.”
Lampkin says the attitude of not taking plays off comes from a talk he had with Lowrey in the offseason where he told him that this was his time and he needed him to step up and be a “football player” not just a “running back.”
“Coach told me that I was a running back and that he knew I wanted to be a running back, but they needed me to be more than that,” Lampkin stated. “He said they needed me to be a football player and to be on for all four quarters, so I worked harder than ever and learned how to switch gears mentally. Now when I am at running back I focus on scoring, but when I'm on defense, I can switch gears and focus on making the tackle to stop the other guys.”
Hard work has always been present in Lampkin’s life, who Lowrey describes as “competitive” and someone who “gets offended if you tell him he can’t do something.”
Growing up Lampkin says he was always told that he was not big enough or fast enough, but he did not let that stop him. Instead, he just channels it into working harder and proving everyone wrong.
“I used to come home everyday and work out,” Lampkin said. “I would tell my dad ‘I got to go work out, I got to go pull tires or something to get myself better.’ I wanted to do whatever it took to be at my best and be ready for the season.”
This season Lampkin came in ready to compete and make good on a promise he and his teammates made while still in junior high. After experiencing an undefeated season, the boys told themselves that they would win state their senior year.
“Our goal of winning a championship keeps me focused,” Lampkin said. “I know if I am hurt or I go down, that is a moment that will hurt our chances, so I keep going.”
Winning a state championship is not only something that Lampkin and the team want for themselves, but something they want for the entire community. The Timberwolves know that their community has never experienced a state championship, so this group wants to give it to them.
Lampkin also knows that success can also bring respect for the team, which is why he says he is not doing this for himself but rather he is focusing on helping his team.
“I am doing this for all these guys," Lampkin said. "We don’t get the respect we deserve. People say our competition isn’t the same, but I believe that no matter where you play if you put up the stats then you are all on an equal playing field.”
Stopping at a state championship is not in the plans for Lampkin, who says he is not as concerned about where he will play next, but rather just wants to continue to play football. The senior knows that if he continues to work hard he can do it.
“I know that I can play in the SEC," Lampkin said. "I have been working hard and I am not going to stop. God blessed me with talent and opportunities, so I just want to use them and give it my all to reach my goals.
“That is why I work so hard and try to always do the right thing. I want other kids to know that no matter what you want to do in life that if you work hard enough you can overcome and do anything you put your mind to.”
The senior who this season has already put up 135 carries for 1,474 yards and 26 touchdowns offensively and contributed 28 tackles and two sacks defensively, knows that the hard work he has put in throughout his early years will have him ready for whatever the future brings, and the West Oktibbeha standout will be ready to shine on a new level.