Leading the defense

Q & A: Arnold Farmer, Poly, Football

November 14, 2007|By Stefen Lovelace | Stefen Lovelace,Sun Reporter

Arnold Farmer has been a handful for opposing offensive linemen to contain this season. The junior defensive tackle anchors No. 13 Poly's defense and has helped the Engineers (8-2) qualify for the Class 2A North playoffs for the first time since 2004. He'll have to continue his great play if the team hopes to upset Eastern Tech (10-0) on Friday night at 7 at CCBC-Essex. Farmer has played varsity since he was a freshman - his first year playing football - and now is a captain. He can bench-press 185 pounds 30 times and projects to be one of Baltimore's best defensive linemen next year. He's also proficient in the classroom. He is enrolled in math analysis, calculus and advanced placement U.S. history while maintaining a 3.6 grade point average, and he is "working to get that 4.0." He plans to take the SAT in May, and Boston College, Rutgers and Maryland are on the short list of colleges he wants to attend. His early plans are to major in business, and his goal is to start a business or work for an accounting agency.

What do you like most about football?

I like hitting the person in front of me. It's fun; it's just in me. I just love football.

What was your reaction to being named captain?

I was very honored because I've worked hard and I think other people could have got it also, but I was glad that I was picked.

How long have you been playing football?

This is my third year playing football. I started in high school. My father pushed me to play football a lot, and my karate teachers pushed me to play.

You do karate, too?

Yeah, I'm a green belt [two short of black]. I've been doing karate all my life.

What got you into it?

My mother. She wanted us to have male figures in our life, so we started under the Riley Hawkins Avengers. I started karate and just stuck to it. I like the self-discipline you learn from it, and that has helped me a lot in football. I like the fighting because you get to learn special techniques that help you on the football field also.

What goals did you set for yourself coming into the season?

I wanted to be stronger. Last year, I didn't think I was the strongest I could be. I stayed in the weight room from November till August this year. I came back two times stronger. I've been able to work harder for my teammates and myself.

What's your best memory while playing at Poly?

My best memory is my freshman year, playing Forest Park, when I got an interception and returned it for a touchdown. Everybody was proud of me. It was a good team effort because everyone blocked for me and they were glad I scored.

What advice do you give your little brother Arnell (who is on the Poly junior varsity team)?

I just try to tell him that he needs to work hard, he needs to be in the weight room with me. If he works as hard as me, he could be as good or better than me.

What do you like most about playing for Poly?

Poly has the longest tradition in football with the Poly-City game. I came to Poly for the academics because my mother said if I don't have good academics and good grades, I can't play. At Poly, you're forced to keep your grades up so you can play, so the academics are really good. That's what I like about Poly.

You're in the Ingenuity Project, too, right?

Yeah, it's the highest academic program at Poly, and we have to maintain an 80 average. I got into the Ingenuity Project at Roland Park. From my elementary school grades, I was accepted into that program, and we tested at Poly to get in. It's for math and science students, and you have to maintain a 3.0.

What other activities are you involved in?

I'm the student leader of the FCA at Poly. It's the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and we meet Monday mornings. It's basically a Bible study for athletes. It keeps you grounded, and it's a good connection with God, and you get to know your teammates better other than just on the football field.

You've got a lot on your plate. Anything else you're involved in?

Right now, I'm basically focused on football, but during the offseason I'm going to be lifting, and I might get involved with the Student Government Association. I just want to be a representative for my class and go from there. It helps when you know what's going on in your school, so you can stay focused and know what's going to happen. It helps being a leader. I like being a leader.

Who do you look up to?

I look up to my mother. She has been very influential in my life and football. She takes me to all the practices and makes sure I'm on time. She has raised me to be a gentleman, and she has been there for me when no one else has been there, so I appreciate her and look up to her.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

Never quit. If you go into life with a quitting mentality, you're never going to get anywhere. If you keep pushing yourself to keep going, you'll end up better than you were than if you quit.

If you were stuck on a desert island and could bring just three things, what would they be?

I would bring something to live in. Food. And I would bring my football team with me.

You realize by bringing them that now they're stuck on a desert island, too?

Yeah, but we got food and somewhere to live, so we're good (laughs).

stefen.lovelace@baltsun.com

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