CARROLLTON – Patty Beck has been cheering on the Carroll Academy Rebels since her kindergarten year at the school. In 1991, as a Rebel cheerleader, she cheered on her future husband, Danny Beck, and the Rebels as they brought a state championship back to Carrollton. As a mother, with three of her four sons playing varsity football for Carroll Academy, she is still cheering today.
“This is my 12th football season [as a parent],” Patty Beck said.
Jeb Beck graduated in 2019 and was a standout running back for the Rebels, earning the offensive player of the week nod in early September 2018 when he racked up 192 yards rushing and three touchdowns over rival Kirk Academy.
Cooper Beck, offensive and defensive lineman, is now a senior, and twins Mathis, running back and linebacker, and Noah, wide receiver and defensive back, are currently sophomores. All three play on this year’s team, and all have been highlighted as players of the week this season.
For years, Patty, a pharmacist, took vacation days on Thursdays to watch her sons compete in peewee and junior high football games. As the boys got older, she began taking vacation days on Thursdays and Fridays, with her sons playing in different games.
“I wasn’t going to miss a football game,” Patty said.
Today, her focus is on Friday nights, although she said not watching Carroll Academy football on Thursday night this year — as she had for more than a decade — is “weird.”
“This is the first year I didn’t have a kid playing on Thursday night since Jeb was in fourth grade, and it was weird,” she said. “I so looked forward to going to their football games on Thursday night.”
Patty can be found in the same spot during home football games at Gordon Field – the upper right corner of the bleachers nearest the scoreboard. Her three sisters, all of whom are alumni and past or present parents at Carroll Academy; her mother; and extended family can also be found there weekly to root for the Rebels.
“My advice [to other football parents] would be to invest in some really good stadium seats,” Beck said. “After a while, the bleachers make your back hurt.”
With four sons born five years apart, Patty said she is “pretty laid back” for a mom raising four active boys. As young children, the Beck boys remember bringing ladders inside the house to practice wrestling moves they saw on WWE, using living room pillows to cushion their impact with the floor. They explored the gully behind their house, just off the Carrollton square, and navigated around Big Sand Creek. They went through “five or six” trampolines growing up, “bouncing their springs off.”
Every day there was an adventure, and with the four of them so close-knit, they were never without a playmate.
“It definitely helped toughen us up because we are all boys and around the same age,” said Cooper. “Jeb is three years older than me, and there is 18 months between me [and the twins.]”
Patty said Jeb has always been the “mother hen,” looking out for his younger brothers. When he was younger, Jeb said he would worry and crack his knuckles. A babysitter told him that if he continued to crack his knuckles, he would get arthritis in his hands like her. Not knowing exactly what arthritis
was, Jeb used the threat of getting arthritis to wrangle his little brothers.
“They would be doing crazy stuff, and I would start cracking my knuckles,” Jeb said. “I would yell, ‘If we don’t get in the house in like 10 seconds, arthritis is going to get us.’”
It took a few years before the threat of arthritis lost its edge.
In fourth grade, Jeb started playing for the Carroll Academy peewee team. He had played little league baseball previously, but there was something about football that excited him. Cooper, Mathis and Noah said it was the same for them. Football was the sport of choice for the Becks, although they participated in other sports.
For the past several seasons, the Rebels have been a force on the football field, but Patty remembered a time when that wasn’t always the case.
“It goes in cycles,” she said. “There have been years when we didn’t get a first down, much less a touchdown.”
Jeb remembered a time when Carroll’s football program wasn’t like it is today, but that didn’t stop the Beck boys from working hard.
“It was bred into us to try your hardest,” Jeb said.
Cooper added, “[Jeb’s] class going through Carroll Academy kind of changed the attitude and way of life at Carroll [for the football program].”
The boys credited coaches Bo Milton, Eddie Jones, and Tommy Acy for bringing the culture of winning back to the school.
“They had to build a program and a foundation,” Patty said.
Jeb remembered his first season playing under Milton. The Rebels won four games. The second season, his senior season, they won seven games. In 2019, the Rebels posted 10 victories. This year, the team is currently ranked at the top of 3A with a 5-0 record.
The Becks said as the team evolved, so did the dynamics of the Rebels football team.
“It was more like a family, a brotherhood,” Jeb said. “That has a lot to do with it, if you love your teammates.”
Noah said he and his brothers have always gone out of their way to make a new student or teammate feel welcomed.
“I think we do a good job accepting new kids,” Noah said.
Cooper added, “We do a good job of that. There are four of us, and we are all nice and friendly, so right away, [new students] already know four people.”
The Beck home, or rather the pool house, has even become the unofficial hangout for the Rebel football team.
“When Jeb was a senior, the senior boys would get out of school at 1 p.m., and they would hang out at the pool house until football practice at 3 p.m.,” Patty said. “Even after Jeb graduated, the senior boys would still come hang out at the pool house, even though I didn’t have a senior. They knew they were welcome here.”
At the pool house, the boys would play video games, nap, or just relax between school and practice.
Cooper said, “The pool house has bonded a lot of people together. It’s like a man-cave almost.”
For the Beck boys, playing football is something they all love to do, but even more, they enjoy playing football with each other.
Cooper had the opportunity to play football with all three of his brothers over the years, on the peewee team (as a third grader) with Jeb, junior high with Mathis and Noah, and varsity with all three.
The four had the opportunity to play on the same team in the spring of 2019, but it wasn’t the football team, and it only lasted a few weeks. All four Beck boys decided to play baseball Jeb’s senior year, the last chance for the brothers to play on the same team.
For Christmas that year, all of the boys got baseball gloves, practice pants, a bucket of baseballs, and all the other equipment needed to play baseball. None of them had much experience on the baseball diamond, but they all joined the team for the experience of playing together.
“It was my senior year, and I thought it was my time to shine,” Jeb joked. “Two weeks in, Mathis and Noah quit. Cooper kept on playing; he liked to sit there and run his mouth.”
Jeb said he practiced hard and committed 100 percent, even showing up early to practices to help set up.
“I went to all the practices,” he said. “I threw the ball hard. No talent.”
“At all,” Cooper added.
Jeb said he sat on the bench most games, and after a while, his commitment waned.
“I was going to give it one more week,” Jeb said.
During the next game, Jeb took his place in center field, and as the game progressed, a fly ball came his way.
“It bounced off my glove and hit me straight in the face,” Jeb said. “I got a black eye, and it was all swollen up. I told the coach that I quit.”
The Becks are at heart a football family – the entire family. On Saturdays during football season, the Becks watch films of the previous night’s game and a game of their next opponents. The four boys and their mother study game film and drink coffee together.
“We will do that all morning,” Cooper said. “You only get 12 or 13 weeks a year to focus on football.”
This football season has been particularly exciting for the Becks.
“Noah and I have both been on the news a couple of times,” said Mathis. “They call us the ‘Beck brothers.’”
Cooper added, “Because they score all the touchdowns.”
Well, not all the touchdowns. On September 18, in the Rebels’ match-up against Newton, Cooper scooped up a Newton fumble and ran it in for a touchdown – his very first touchdown in all of his years in football. Noah and Mathis ran alongside their brother as he scored, and the three celebrated the milestone moment in the end zone with exuberant cheers from the Rebel faithful reaching record decibels.
Currently, Jeb is a student at Holmes Community College in Grenada where he is an ambassador and taking pre-nursing classes. He plans to apply to nursing school.
Cooper said his goal is to play football on the college level.
“I want to go tryout at a bunch of places,” Cooper said. “If that doesn’t work out, I will go to Holmes to get my prerequisites.”
He said he has always wanted to be an anesthesiologist.
Mathis said he also hopes to play football at the college level and pursue a career in coaching or sports medicine.
Noah said he also hopes to continue playing football in college.
“I want to play sports at the next level,” Noah said. “I guess me and God will have to figure that out together. If not that, I really want to go into sports medicine.”