Lucas Lehmar is about his family, the food they eat together and the sports he learned to play with them along the way here in Long Beach. All of that home cooking has prepared the senior to step up and quarterback the St. Anthony Saints this season.
“I stuck with playing all of the sports and that’s what’s helped me be a well-rounded person.” Lehmar said. “In fifth or sixth grade I was the quarterback on the flag football team, the point guard on the basketball team, the pitcher and shortstop on the baseball team… so I figured I was one of the better athletes.”
It takes a lot of patience to learn a lot of sports, and Lehmar used those lessons to survive two years of being a backup quarterback at St. Anthony. The senior has made the most of his opportunity by throwing for over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. He’s also rushed for 464 yards and three touchdowns.
Lehmar was born and raised in Long Beach by his parents Mary Ann and Pete, who are also phenomenal chefs. He grew up playing as many sports as possible with this older brother, Jackson, and his numerous cousins. Some of them went on to play college baseball, and Jackson played college football in Chicago, so Lehmar had an athletic trail blazed for him.
“Even now I’m trying to play all of the sports I can because I don’t know when I’ll get to play them again,” Lehmar said. “I’m thinking about playing some soccer too. I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s my senior year, and I’ll still be getting ready for baseball, but I might just go play.”
Lehmar went to K-8th grade at St. Joseph, and his arrival at St. Anthony was perfectly timed to help him fall in love with this first tackle football experience.
“It was a crazy life-changing moment,” Lehmar said. “That year on Junior Varsity we went 10-0 and the Varsity went to State. It was probably the highlight of my high school career and it was the first thing that happened.”
“He was a little chubby kid coming out of middle school but what I liked about him was how athletic he was he had really good feet,” St. Anthony coach Mario Morales said. “All of the coaches knew that when he got rid of the baby fat he’d be pretty good down the road.”
Lehmar got his chance to get on that road as a sophomore when he was the JV starting quarterback, but again he had to sit behind Nick Billoups last year. When Billoups left school in the offseason, Morales and his coaches weren’t concerned with relying on Lehmar.
“They’re kind of the opposite because Nick was a phenomenal runner, and Luke is so accurate,” Morales said. “We knew what we had and that we could throw the ball a little bit.”
The passing game changed completely when receiver Riley Jenkins decided to play football this year for the first time. Lehmar and Jenkins quickly bonded in the offseason and had a few classes together last year including Ocean Science with Mr. Berlin.
“He’s like an old wise guy who has stories to tell,” Lehmar said of Berlin. “He actually was a high school quarterback himself so he’s always talking to me about football. He said they used to run the wing offense or something? I don’t even know. It was something crazy.”
Lehmar and the 6’4” Jenkins have been doing anything but the wing-T offense. Jenkins has hauled in eight touchdowns and averaged 21.7 yards per catch at wide receiver.
“When he said he wanted to come and play football I was all about it,” Lehmar said of Jenkins. “I knew he could definitely play. We just had to get the reps. He’s a pretty quick learner, so it was just getting the timing down and watching film and showing him where he needs to be.”
“It’s no secret (Jenkins) is literally and figuratively our big target,” Morales said. “Crossing over (from sport to sport) isn’t always easy. Lucas has done it and done a good job of helping Riley transition. They do a lot of one-on-one stuff so Lucas has been really big in developing Riley.”
Lehmar, who wants to study sports medicine or sports management in college, said that he’s enjoyed his time under the Friday Night Lights because he doesn’t get intimidated.
“I look at it as the same situation as (games in the past) but I’m just older,” Lehmar said. “I’m still doing what I’ve been doing all my life. I think my teams best chance is when I have the ball. If we lose, It’s on me and I’m not really worried about that. But I think I’ve got a good chance.”
Lehmar said that he’s willing to watch any and all sports because his family basically showed him everything, so we talked about his all-time favorites…
Football: I can remember at a really young age watching Reggie Bush. I’m talking USC Reggie Bush before all the stuff. I used to play NCAA Football (video game) with him and he is one of my favorite all time. Right now, current guys, it’s probably Drew Brees.
Baseball: I think Clayton Kershaw is my favorite of all time. Obviously the struggles in the playoffs hurt, but all of my life he’s been owning the regular season.
Basketball: Kobe. For Sure. Kobe is the G.O.A.T and there’s no questions asked right there.
Soccer: Messi. I know that’s everyones favorite, but I honestly think he’s one of the greatest athletes of all time. It’s pretty impressive the stuff he can do. I also watch the Premier League and my favorite team is Arsenal.
Rugby: I try to go to the Belmont Shore games because so many of my teammates play and those are my boys. I like watching New Zealand on TV.
Boxing: Honestly, I’ve watched a lot of Muhammad Ali highlights. He’s one of the G.O.A.T’s
Hockey: Luc Robitaille. He’s got a good name, and we Luc Robitaille signed thing in my house so that’s pretty cool.
Auto Driver: Oh, I don’t know any NASCAR.
Golfer: I probably have to go Tiger, but maybe Arnold Palmer because that’s my favorite drink?
Olympian: Michael Phelps is a beast. I remember watching that one butterfly where he won by like a tenth of a second. I was on vacation with my family and it was crazy watching that.
ESports: I don’t play Madden like that. My favorite video game is Super Smash Bros.
On this week’s “The Show” Mike and JJ talk about the St. Anthony football team’s showdown with St. Paul for the Del Rey League championship. Also, girl’s volleyball playoffs, LBCC football and water polo, as well as the absolute best thing a coach can say to his team after it loses a heartbreaking, gut-clenching, rivalry game in overtime.