Leave It To Beaver: Former Foard football star carving a path with Lenoir-Rhyne his first two seasons

Lenoir-Rhyne tailback Tate Beaver (44) during the 2019 season.Foard graduate Tate Beaver (1) during the 2017 season. (O-N-E file photo)
Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

Every athlete must find his or her way once they reach the collegiate level as opportunity isn’t given, it’s earned.

Former Fred T. Foard football standout, Tate Beaver is making that case in his sophomore season with the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears.

Beaver began his collegiate career on the gridiron as a linebacker in 2018. During that season, he earned his place on the field as a true freshman as he participated in all 14 games. He collected 14 tackles on the year (11 assisted and three solo) -- including a career-high four tackles against Mars Hill on September 13, 2018.

Nevertheless, Beaver was asked by head coach Drew Cronic to shift to offense in 2019, more specifically at the running back position. This call back to his high school playing days proved to be rewarding, especially in the match-up against Newberry College on September 21 at Moretz Stadium.

In that contest, Beaver’s number was called and he answered soundly en route to scoring his first-ever collegiate rushing touchdown. In the win over Newberry, 34-17, he collected 65 rushing yards on 12 carries with a season long of 16 yards.

“It was an awesome moment to be able to help my team,” said Beaver after picking up his first collegiate touchdown. “The offensive line and skill did such a good job driving down the field. I just didn’t want to let them down.”

As far as the rest of the 2019 season, although sparingly, Beaver has played when needed and done so with signs of potential. So far this year -- including the playoffs -- he has amassed 173 yards on 43 carries. Most recently, in the playoff contest against Miles last Saturday, Beaver earned 15 yards on three carries.

Although that doesn’t seem like much, he has come in and done his job for whatever the coaching staff has asked of him. He has taken this transition from defense to offense in stride.

“The transition wasn’t too bad,” he said. “I just knew that I would have to learn the offense quick if I wanted to help the team this year. Coach Cronic knew that I played running back in high school and in the spring we were pretty thin at that position, so he asked me to switch over right before we got into spring ball.”

As a member of the Tigers’ varsity football team, Beaver rushed for a career-mark of 2,300 yards on 454 carries with 15 TDs. The longest rush of his high school career was 86 yards -- all according to MaxPreps. On the defensive side at Foard, he earned 140 career tackles (88 solo), as well as 10 sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Beaver said that the main thing he learned from the Bears’ coaching staff was getting low and into good body position.

“I’m taller than the other backs, so I really have to lower my pad level in order to make blocks and run the way they need me to,” he said.

Beaver also feels there’s a ton of mentors at Lenoir-Rhyne to help get him to the player he ultimately wants to be.

“I think our captains Clayton Horn, Kyle Dugger, Grayson Willingham and Ronnie Clifton are great positive figures who have showed me how to work hard and do the little things right,” said Beaver. “I’ve got a lot of things to improve on, but I would say getting bigger, utilizing and improving my tools, and becoming a better leader (are things to improve).”