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Barnes, Warriors can't be denied of first win

October 10, 2004|by BILL STERNER/Staff Correspondent

BOONSBORO - Boonsboro senior James Barnes was not going to be denied.

With his Homecoming game on the line, as well as the pressure of turning around the recent fortunes of the Warriors football team, Barnes rushed for a bruising 127 yards on 23 carries as Boonsboro won its first game of the year, beating Catoctin 28-20 in a Saturday afternoon MVAL Antietam Conference game.

"I can't believe it," Barnes said. "I'm about ready to bust out in tears."

They would be far from the first things the fullback "busted" on this day. Barnes' two touchdown runs, along with two acrobatic catches in the end zone by marquee receiver Josh Lewis, were just what the Warriors needed to right the ship.

"James stepped up and carried us on his back for a while," Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders said. "His touchdown run at the beginning of the fourth quarter was classic fullback."

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With Catoctin (1-5, 0-3) leading 20-14 early in the fourth quarter and Boonsboro (1-5, 1-2) threatening at the Cougars' 6-yard line, Barnes drove into the middle of the line, twisting and turning his way into the end zone to tie the score. The PAT kick put the Warriors ahead to stay. Later, Barnes burrowed in from the 1, capping an 11-play, 60-yard drive that iced the game for Boonsboro.

But the Warriors played solid throughout, coming back to regain the lead twice after emotion-draining plays put them in the hole.

In the first quarter, the Cougars blocked Boonsboro's first punt, but the Warriors were able to dodge a bullet when Catoctin turned the ball over on downs after a fourth-down pass was batted down by Matt Byers.

But Boonsboro was not so lucky on its second punt, as Catoctin's Tony Hall blocked it and returned it 24 yards for the game's first score in the first quarter.

Boonsboro, however, mounted a 12-play, 54-yard drive, capped by Zach Shoemaker's 21-yard touchdown pass to Lewis with only three seconds left in the half. Shoemaker, sacked for a loss of 11 yards on previous play, this time eluded the Catoctin rush and hit Lewis in the right corner of the end zone for a 7-6 Warriors lead.

"That touchdown was huge," Anders said. "Catoctin basically kicked our butts in the first half, but they let us hang around."

Early in the third quarter, Cougars freshman quarterback D.J. Doyle escaped a potential sack and hit Hall in stride for an 86-yard touchdown pass after the defender slipped.

But the Warriors came back again as Shoemaker found Lewis for a 10-yard touchdown pass.

"By the second half, we were confident," Anders said. "We felt we were wearing them down and the kids were confident they could play with them."

"We really put the heat on them in the second half," Barnes said. "We got together and decided this would be the turning point."

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