Reimers was able to break free of the defense for six rushing touchdowns during his freshman season with Harvard. (Courtesy of Gil Talbot Photo)
Cambridge, MA (Mar. 9, 2016) – Rushing for over 3,000 yards and 49 touchdowns would be an extraordinary career for nearly any high school running back. Just imagine what it would feel like to reach the end zone nearly 50 times alongside your best friends in front of a passionate local community.
One particular individual, however, did not need four years to amass such lofty numbers. Noah Reimers accomplished this feat in just one season.
Tuscarora’s legendary running back ran for 3,031 yards and crossed the goal line just one instance shy of the half-century mark as a senior with the Huskies in 2014, carrying the squad all the way to the Virginia 5A state championship game held annually at UVA. Although the team would eventually fall in that game to L.C. Bird of Chesterfield, Va., the 14-0 start and Reimers’ magical season capped off a year to remember in Leesburg.
“That whole process, being able to play five extra games was quite the blessing,” Reimers said, “we lost but being able to travel down to UVA was an incredible moment. Doing that with all your closest friends, it was so much fun. We felt like we were on top of the world.”
Thanks to his dominant senior year performance, he was recognized as the best football player in the state as he was named the 2014 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year.
“I really couldn’t believe it, honestly,” Reimers said. “I worked incredibly hard to get to that point, but I never really thought that I would receive an honor as high as that. It’s amazing to be placed into a group of people as successful as those who have won the award in the past.”
He joined a group of past winners from Loudoun County that includes Stone Bridge alums Jonathan Allen (currently at Alabama) and Ed Wang (Virginia Tech, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles) and Briar Woods alum Alex Carter (Stanford, Detroit Lions).
The four-year letterman and 2015 graduate ended his historic prep campaign with 6,260 rushing yards and 88 touchdowns, numbers almost too unfathomable to comprehend.
Despite the remarkable success on the gridiron, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound back truly embodies what it means to be a student-athlete. In high school, he attended both Tuscarora and the Loudoun Academy of Science, a facility that operates out of Dominion High School in Sterling and provides advanced math and science courses for gifted students enrolled in Loudoun County Public Schools.
While juggling these two institutions and playing football at a high level, Reimers graduated with a 4.28 GPA. His dominance both on the field and in the classroom earned him a spot on the football team at Harvard.
“The combination of great academics and great sports at Harvard, that’s pretty tough to find,” he said. “They compete at such a high level and they’ve won three straight Ivy League championships.”
In addition to winning the Ivy League three consecutive times, the Crimson are coming off a year in which they went 9-1, with that lone loss to Penn snapping what was a 22-game winning streak.
Reimers did his part in helping the Crimson in his freshman crusade, as he ran for 253 yards and six touchdowns on 59 attempts. He was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice for his performances against Brown and Georgetown, combining for five of his six scores in those two contests.
“It was interesting coming in, you get on campus and you’re going right away. So it was cool to get recognition like that early in the season and for my work to pay off,” Reimers said.
Even with those accomplishments, he continues to be a role model both on the field and in the classroom. According to Reimers, football season can be grueling with the high academic standards and the strict structure of the football program.
“We have to work as hard as everybody else does, you’re not expected any less when you’re a football player,” he said. “It’s tough obviously, but it’s very rewarding at the same time.”
While Reimers was scoring touchdowns with the Crimson in 2015, Tuscarora faced the challenge of replacing an individual who ran for over 6,000 yards in his career. With the departure of their star and coming off a state runner-up season, there were doubts surrounding the continued success of the program.
However, the Huskies proved 2014 was no fluke and again proved to be one of the best teams in Virginia this past season, starting 13-0 before ultimately falling to Stone Bridge in the playoffs, just one game shy of returning to the state championship.
“They’ve built quite the program at Tuscarora, which I’m super proud to see,” Reimers said. “Throughout the whole fall I was checking to see how they were doing, watched a couple games online. It’s great to look back and see how successful they’ve been.”
The Huskies’ senior quarterback Daniel Smith was able to fill the void left by Reimers, as he used his versatile skill-set to throw and run all over the field. The Campbell football commit finished his senior season with 3,758 all-purpose yards.
“There was a lot of attention on me and the other running backs we’ve had,” Reimers said, “but Daniel was a diamond in the rough the whole time.”
The steady rock for the budding football powerhouse in Leesburg has been Coach Mike Burnett. Having now gone back-to-back years without a regular season loss despite the graduation of the best player in the state of Virginia, he is implanting a legacy of his own.
Burnett was honored with the 2015 Don Shula award, which is the NFL’s High School Coach of the Year, a tribute that is granted to just one football coach in the nation and earned him a special invite to the Super Bowl.
“There can’t be enough said about Coach Burnett and his coaching staff and what they’ve done,” Reimers said. “It was incredible for him to get recognized for all the great things he is doing out in front of the scenes, but also there is so much he does behind the scenes. He works incredibly hard, it’s great to see someone like that get rewarded.”
Reimers credits Burnett and the Huskies’ community for propelling him forward during his four years with the program.
“I had an incredible support system and incredible group of people to really help me be as successful as I could, whether it was my coaches, teammates or parents, everyone was pushing me to do the best I could, and it worked out pretty well,” he said.
Thanks to the foundation he built with the Huskies and a solid freshman season in Cambridge with the Crimson, Reimers has high aspirations for the future.
“First off I want to solidify a starting spot, and obviously being First Team All-Ivy at some point in my career is a huge goal,” he said.
Although not the fastest or biggest guy on the turf, Reimers says his vision, ability to read defenses, and his capacity to get downhill quickly separates him from other backs.
As a freshman, had the rare opportunity to learn under one of the most productive running backs in Crimson history in Paul Stanton, Jr. Stanton’s graduation, however, may open the door for Reimers to increase his workload on the field next year.
“The level of competition in the Ivy League is getting better and better each year and I think it’s going to continue to do so,” Reimers said. “It keeps you working hard and striving to get better with how good your teammates are, it’s great to have that competitive fire with everybody around you and in the league.”
In terms of his future beyond Cambridge, the multifaceted student-athlete is excited for the many possibilities ahead. The economics major is also a part of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective, a student-run organization that examines sports strategies and management, and he says he could see himself working in a football front office one day.
“Economics is one of those things that can open a lot of doors,” Reimers said. “If football works out then football works out, but if not, there’s a lot of great doors I can go through.”
Viva Loudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Josh Apple
Special to Viva Loudoun