- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Barber battery does not run low. It runs on full for 48 minutes.
On Friday night, Chopticon Braves running back Kyle Barber’s battery pack, in the form of his energy and effort, never ran low through Chopticon’s football contest with the hosting Great Mills Hornets.
Barber’s battery, instead, had the reverse effect, getting stronger as the night wore on.
On the strength of 240 rushing yards on 26 attempts, Barber’s four second-half touchdowns, including three in the fourth quarter, propelled Chopticon back into the game after facing a 14-0 deficit and eventually into Chopticon’s first victory of the season, a 27-21 win.
“Coaches have us work the hill and go through all kind of conditioning,” Barber said. “We’ve been working hard to not [get tired] and that contributed to that second half.”
Barber only carried the ball eight times for 75 yards in the first half Friday night. In the second half, Chopticon head coach Tony Lisanti more than doubled Barber’s rushing attempts upping it to 18 attempts totaling 165 yards and four touchdowns.
“First of all, he was running hard, lowering his shoulder,” Lisanti said. “Second of all, his line in front of him was moving people. I have to give it up to some of those linemen; they were knocking their guys back and Kyle hit the hole hard.”
Barber added, “I have to thank the line for that. If I didn’t have the holes, I wouldn’t [run] anywhere, I’d be stuck in the backfield.”
Barber was not stuck in the backfield, however, with touchdown runs of seven, eight, four and six yards, his first coming late in the third quarter on a seven-yard plunge pulling Chopticon to within 14-7 going into the fourth quarter.
Barber’s eight-yard scamper less than two minutes into the fourth quarter tied the game at 14. After linebacker James Sciarra recovered a Great Mills fumble on its ensuing drive, Barber was set up for his four-yard touchdown score to give Chopticon its first lead of the game at 21-14 with 7 minutes 55 seconds remaining in the contest.
Another defensive stand from the Braves that amounted to a Great Mills three-and-out set up the Chopticon offense and Barber capped off an eight-play, four-minute drive with his fourth score, this one from six yards out with just over two minutes left in the contest.
“It felt great because we have been waiting for it,” Barber said of the team’s first win. “It took a lot and we have been working each week to get better and better. We know we’re better than we have played and to finally come out and show it with heart and determination was good.”
Chopticon improved to 1-2 overall and evened its SMAC record at 1-1.
“It was a long time coming,” Lisanti said of the win. “There were a lot of mistakes, a lot of penalties, but in the end, I think we finally started to dominate the line of scrimmage like we always knew that we should be doing.”
Great Mills and head coach Tyrone Bell drop to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in SMAC but scored its first points of the season only seconds into the contest.
A fumble recovery from Tony Smith turned into a 91-yard touchdown return, giving the Hornets an early 7-0 lead.
From his quarterback position, Smith would add to that lead by connecting with Joseph Garner on an eight-yard touchdown pass five minutes before halftime.
“They want it, they want it,” Bell said. “They are getting better at it and that’s what I love about it. We scored twice on offense and we had a nice defensive score. We made the moves we had to make.”
The Hornets would add a score on the last drive of the game when Smith tossed his second touchdown of the night, a 19-yard connection with Tanner Blofsky.
“What happened was we got tired, worn down and these guys have to fight that battle of being used to losing, being used to this happening,” Bell said. “They have to fight that urge and think, ‘It’s not going to happen.’ Every game, you can see them hold on to that thought a little longer. That’s why I was so happy to get that drive at the end because that shows that we’re not going to quit.”
Chopticon 27, Great Mills 21
Chopticon 0 0 7 20
Great Mills 7 7 0 7
GM Smith 91 fumble return (Norwood kick), :43
GM Garner 8 pass from Smith (Norwood kick), 7:05
C Barber 7 run (Sciarra kick), 9:11
C Barber 8 run (Sciarra kick), 1:15
C Barber 4 run (Sciarra kick), 4:05
C Barber 6 run (kick failed), 9:19
GM Blofsky 19 pass from Smith (Norwood kick), 11:51
C (18 first downs, 37-299 rushing, 35 passing, 3-1 fumbles, 7-71 penalties)
GM (12 first downs, 22-73 rushing, 164 passing, 1-1 fumbles, 7-53 penalties)
Top individual performers
Rushing C: Barber 26-240, Powell 6-38, McVerry 3-20; GM: Smith 5-48, Bremby 11-28
Passing C: McVerry 4-8-0 35; GM: Smith 11-20-0 164
Receiving C: Powell 1-18; GM: Barnes 4-76, Blofsky 2-50