OCH Regional Medical Center Athlete of the Week: Luke Altmyer

Quarterback Luke Altmyer checks the sideline for a play in an earlier game this season for Starkville High School.

Staff Writer

Last Friday was one of Starkville High School quarterback Luke Altmyer’s most impressive football games of his young career, but head coach Chris Jones was more impressed with his effort in defeat the week before.

Statistically, the loss against Northwest Rankin was Altmyer’s worst as a high school quarterback from a completion percentage standpoint. For a player that has completed more than 70 percent of his passes in his first two seasons, Altmyer was just 17-for-34 and he threw for 209 yards.

Even so, Jones came away with more respect for him in the 27-20 loss than he had going in and that said much.

“We talk a lot outside of football and I told him that I had another level of respect for him after the Northwest game,” Jones said. “He took a lot of hits and kept getting back up. For a 10th grader, that was really impressive. I think he’ll be really good the next few years and every game is a learning experience.”

Altmyer took that loss and built off of it to deliver his best performance of his career against Greenville last week. The sophomore played through the first possession of the second half in a 79-0 game and was incredibly efficient with a 16-of-18 night passing for 196 yards and a career-high five touchdowns on his way to OCH/SDN Athlete of the Week honors.

Most importantly, he was excited about getting the victory.

“There’s always room for improvement and I tell our offensive line to give 110 percent on every play and everything will fall into place,” Altmyer said. “The Northwest Rankin game was a great learning experience with our first real road test. I had fun even though we lost and I felt like I built off of that and we did as a team.”

Everything that Altmyer took from the first loss of the season was a positive and his coach has looked at it the same way. In most cases this season, the Starkville starters have been on the bench by the fourth quarter, and many of them have barely played three full quarters consistently.

Altmyer is one of those and his numbers might not be on par with many of the top statistical quarterbacks in the state and nationally. It doesn’t change the fact he’s impressed his coach with his 1,269 passing yards, his 13 touchdowns and just one interception and his 68 percent completion percentage. He’s already taken a huge step forward as a starting quarterback in high school football and according to Jones, the best is yet to come.

“I thought he handled that loss well,” Jones said of Altmyer. “We expected him to do what he did (against Greenville). He could have some crazy stats this season, but he hasn’t played many full games and a lot of times, stats can be overlooked. He could easily be in the same category as the top QBs nationally and I think he’s that good.”