CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (BVM) – Every so often, a truly special talent comes around that etches their name into history forever. Over the past few years in Clarksville, Indiana, that talent has been Robert Lamar.
Explosiveness, acceleration, quickness and elusiveness are all words you want to hear when it comes to the running back position. Lamar has all of that and then some, and it has allowed him to become one of the top backs the Hoosier State has ever seen.
Lamar has been playing football pretty much his whole life after his mom signed both he and his brother up for the sport when they were little.
“It really became my sport when I was a second grader,” Lamar said. “That’s when I started to realize that I actually like this sport … All the way throughout, just slowly picked it up and got better.”
Lamar was a good player throughout his youth, but he put himself on the map once he got to Clarksville High School. Although playing at a higher level was a bit of an adjustment for the running back at first, Lamar quickly adapted to the high school game as he watched several upperclassmen play, including his older brother. He was also part of a culture-changing season for the Clarksville program during his freshman year as the Generals snapped a 46-game losing streak, and a string of four consecutive 0-10 seasons, to finish with a 3-7 record.
“Going into high school, you’re one of the smallest guys on the team at that point,” Lamar said. “You need to look up to other people and learn, and I feel like that’s really what I was able to do … Being able to watch other kids, not even just kids on my team, but playing older kids, that experience really helps freshmen and I feel like it really helped me out and showed me what I wanted my future to be as far as how good I wanted to be when I was a senior.”
As a freshman, Lamar saw time as both a rusher and pass catcher, nearing 400 yards on the ground along with two touchdowns, while adding five more scores and 353 yards as a receiver. By his second season at Clarksville, Lamar had quickly become the focal point of the team’s offense, rushing for over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns.
“Sophomore year felt great because it was kind of like my breakout year,” Lamar said. “My sophomore year was when people really started to open up a little bit, like ‘This kid might really be something.’ I was happy with how the year went.”
Whether it was his coaches, teammates or opponents, just about everyone recognized that Lamar would be a force to be reckoned with over the next two seasons. In 2021, he got even better, leading the state in rushing with 2,222 yards while also scoring 27 touchdowns. Impressively, Lamar was also a star for the Generals defense, leading the team with 84 tackles.
“Going into junior year, my brother graduated, and it was time for it to be my team again,” Lamar said. “One of my biggest goals was to become a better leader.
“Going into the season, my goal was 2,000 yards. But I would have never even thought I would lead the state. It was just being realistic. The whole state, it’s big, there’s a lot of kids out there. A goal like that, it really is a dream, and it just felt crazy. It was surprising.”
Part of Lamar’s incredible totals came during the Generals’ postseason win – the program’s first in eight years – in which Lamar tallied 256 yards and six touchdowns.
“The goal is always to win a sectional, to win a championship, to keep progressing,” Lamar said. “And that was just the first step to keep on moving forward and getting better as a team. Clarksville has come a long way.”
It was a springboard to what would be a successful 2022 campaign for Clarksville, and Lamar’s best season yet. In a campaign full of special performances, Lamar began the year dominant, rushing for 266 yards and four touchdowns in Clarksville’s season-opening win. However, the best was yet to come.
Following a string of seven consecutive games where Lamar ran for 219 yards or better, the senior running back went off. In Clarksville’s regular-season finale – a dominant 58-14 win over Crawford County – Lamar ran for a career-best 437 yards on just 17 carries, scoring seven touchdowns. The following week in Clarksville’s playoff opener, the talented tailback ran for 432 yards and a career-best eight touchdowns in another Generals win.
“It was completely overwhelming,” Lamar said. “Yards like that are video game-type stats. In game, you don’t really know how many yards you get, or really even try to focus on it. You’re just focused on playing the game … I had big goals for my senior year, but some of the stuff I did, I surprised myself with some of the stuff I accomplished.”
Lamar’s incredible season ended with a 196-yard, three-touchdown performance in a postseason loss to Indianapolis Scecina as the Generals finished the year 5-6 – the best record for the team during Lamar’s tenure.
Lamar broke Clarksville’s single-season rushing record of 1,659 yards previously set in 1998 by Tito Mayfield by a wide margin last year. This year, he absolutely destroyed it, and also leaves the Generals as their all-time leading rusher and touchdown scorer.
However, Lamar didn’t just etch his name into the Clarksville record books. Leading Indiana in rushing during the regular season for a second straight year, Lamar’s 3,035 yards were the 11th-best during a single season in state history. Meanwhile, the 6,786 yards Lamar racked up during his entire high school career rank 13th on the IHSAA’s all-time rushing list.
With an historical high school career wrapped up, the question for Lamar now is what’s next? He hopes to go on to play college football, but surprisingly, the star running back has received zero official offers to this point.
Perhaps it’s in part due to playing at a smaller school located at the south end of the state, but Lamar isn’t concerning himself with the fact that he has received little college notice. Rather, he is ready to let the chips fall where they may, and will continue to do his best no matter where the next chapter of his story takes him.
“I’ve never really thought too deeply about it because there are a lot of factors that can go into the recruiting process,” Lamar said. “If I was doing what I’m doing now, playing up towards the Indy area, the big school area, I think it’d be a different story … But whatever happens, I’ll be happy with anything. It’s just my dream to play college football.”
Ultimately, it would be hard to imagine Lamar not stepping foot on a college football field next fall. He currently has a couple of schools that have interest in him, and it seems to be just a matter of time before he becomes a part of a new program. For Lamar, it doesn’t really matter where he ends up, as he will continue bringing the same mindset to any program that wants him.
“I work hard,” Lamar said. “What I do is just kind of built in. They’d be getting somebody who would play any position they need, do anything they need for the team, whether it’s on the field, off the field, just being a practice player … If I do get the opportunity to play in college, it’d mean a lot. This isn’t something that everybody gets to do.”
Despite the lack of college interest, Lamar has an extremely bright future ahead. His name could enter record books once again beyond the high school level, but what he did at Clarksville is something truly special that will never be forgotten.
“I started playing Clarksville little league in fourth grade,” Lamar said. “I’ve been in the program for a long time. One of my coaches who coaches me now was my first coach for Clarksville. I’ve been in the program, knew a lot of people from Clarksville since I was a kid, so being able to graduate here, go down in history here, have my name be in history here, it’s a great feeling. I’m glad I got to do it here.”