Male Athlete of the Week: Injury motivates Strasburg’s Justin Carr

Justin Carr

STRASBURG — Justin Carr understands how precious playing time is and the value of making the most of every moment on the football field.

Last year, the Strasburg running back suffered a broken collarbone midway through the season and missed the last part of the year. This year the senior is motivated by his injury.

“I’m just motivated on defense to fly to the football every play, don’t give up,” Carr said. “If I’m hitting someone, I’m hitting with everything that I’ve got. …. I got cut short five games. I got to make the most of these guaranteed 10 games, and hopefully we can find ourselves in the playoffs.”

Carr said he’s not only motivated by his injury, but also grateful that he still has another season and it has made him appreciate being out on the field again.

“Offensively and defensively, it made me realize you never know how long you get,” Carr said. “It could be something simple, something little, (and your season) could be cut short. You just got to go out there and give everything all the time you have because you do run out of time eventually.”

Carr is off to a strong start this season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. Last week in a 29-14 victory over East Rockingham, Carr ran for 102 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. He also had a 42-yard touchdown reception and made an interception on defense that sealed the win.

His play earned Carr The Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 6.

Playing at tailback is a new position for Carr, who was at fullback last season, but he said he feels he’s adjusted to it really well. He said having played fullback helps him as a tailback.

“I understand the blocking schemes as a fullback,” Carr said. “I learned it and I had to do it. I understand what’s going on better than just a (tailback), because I know where the fullback’s going. I know what he’s supposed to do, and I know what the other guys are supposed to do.”

Carr’s rushing touchdown against East Rockingham gave Strasburg a 13-7 lead in the second quarter.

Carr dragged a couple defenders with him into the end zone on the 15-yard run, and said he had a little inspiration from former longtime Strasburg head coach Glenn Proctor on the play. He said Proctor taught him in a weightlifting class last spring and gave him some advice.

“He said if you run the ball this season the only person that should go down is when you want to,” Carr said. “That’s all that ran through my mind on that play. I broke a couple tackles, and I saw the goal line. I was like ‘you’ll get there if you want to get there, you’ll get there if you want to get there.’ I crossed the goal line and that’s all I could think about is coach Proctor saying that and it meant a lot.”

Strasburg head coach Mark Roller said the 5-foot-7 165-pound Carr’s mentality helps him not only on offense but on defense as well.

“He’s been at the linebacker position for us since he’s been a sophomore. He’s familiar with that area and knows what he’s doing.” Roller said. “He’s a true fit for Strasburg football — undersized. But he goes after it and that’s just kind of the guys we’ve produced over the years. Guys that are not overly big. … I know coach Proctor’s talked about those guys for a long time so he just fits the mold.”

The Rams are 2-0, including beating East Rockingham for the first time in three years. Strasburg lost a lot last year to graduation and had a lot of question marks entering this season, but Carr said hopefully the first two games show what the team is capable of doing.

“I hope people are starting to realize that we’ll find our way,” Carr said. “We’ll use our players, everyone does their role, and hopefully we can keep the wins coming for our fans.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com