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Football is back, with precautions: West triumphs over East in Battle for the Barrel

By: Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

Whether or not students would be allowed to play sports this year was one of the big questions on the minds of athletes and fans, but the KHSAA is allowing games to proceed, with precautions. Masks were required at the East – West “Battle for the Barrel” contest in Olive Hill last Friday. In addition everyone had their temperature taken with a digital thermometer before being granted entry to the game. Every other section in the bleachers were also marked off, to encourage social distancing, and fans sat in small family clusters around the track, or in the end zones, in lawn chairs to watch the action as West triumphed over East in a one-sided contest that ended with a score of 43-0. 

The Comets started strong, and never let up as they played a solid offensive and defensive game. In the second quarter Leetavious Cline, ran the ball for 21 yards, before Blake McGlone picked up the ball and ran another 15 yards, and 9 yards, for third down and one. Cline then picked up the ball again for another 15 yard gain and a first down before scoring the Comets’ third touchdown with 4:45 left in the half, taking West into the second half with a score of 21-0 against the Raiders. 

East and West face off during the 50th Annual Battle for the Barrel last Friday. (Photo by Jeremy D. Wells, Carter County Times)

When action resumed West’s Jackson Bond gained 39 yards on a catch early in the third quarter. West continued hot and heavy, bringing the score to 36-0 on a two point conversion before the quarter ended. Bond then scored touchdown number six, bringing the score to 42-0 before the kick for the extra point went good, for a score of 43-0. 

The Raiders gained some yardage on a kick-off in the final quarter when Dawson Whitt carried the ball deep into Comets territory, threatening to break West’s shutout, but ultimately came up short against the strong West defense. 

Cline ended the game with 14 carries and three touchdowns, running the ball for a total of 138 yards. Quarterback Orry Perry was 14/21 with 198 yards and passing for three touchdowns. Bond caught six passes for 120 yards and one touchdown. 

Coach Daniel Barker said he was happy with the team’s performance in their first outing. 

“We really didn’t know how it would go with only three weeks practice, but we felt like our kids would come out really motivated. Two years ago we were playing a lot of these kids as freshmen and sophomores, but it’s really benefited us this year because they just hit the ground running. We’re probably able to do more things than most teams because we bring so many kids back, and they do such a good job,” Barker said. “We put the scout film online Sunday morning and by noon about 20 of our kids had already watched it, so they came ready to play.” 

There were some calls from the officials that Barker wasn’t happy with, earning him a warning from officials to stay off the field, but overcoming that is all part of the game, he explained. 

Linebacker Samuel Rayburn (51) gets crunched by the Raiders defense on Friday, but it wasn’t enough to slow the Comet’s progress. (Photo by Jeremy D. Wells, Carter County Times)

“You’re going to have that, and you’ve got to play through it, and I’m glad. Obviously we didn’t agree with every call tonight, but you have to learn to play through adversity, so that was good. It put us in some tough situations, and I love the way our kids responded,” he explained. 

He also said while he was beyond happy with the performance the team put in he felt it was important for him to continue coaching them, and not to rest on their laurels when they were ahead. 

“I don’t (let up),” he said. “I believe that kids deserve to be coached for four quarters. Even if we sub some guys in, we’re not just putting them in there to play. They deserve to be coached and corrected and praised. That’s just the way I’ve always believed and our kids seem to respond to that and appreciate that.” 

Barker said he and the team are eager to keep the momentum going for the rest of the season, no matter how long that ends up being. 

“With coronavirus you’re kind of one week at a time, so that’s kind of the way we look at it. Each week is a one week Super Bowl. So we’ll enjoy this tonight and then try to get ready for Boyd County next week.” 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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