Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SPORTS >> Undefeated teams risk everything

Leader sportswriter

Someone’s perfect season will end this week when Carlisle travels to Frank McClellan Field to take on Barton on Friday.

Both teams enter the game undefeated through the first two weeks. The Bison ripped Riverview 42-6 to start the year and backed it up with an impressive 30-21 road victory over a tough Bauxite team last Friday.

Barton downed DeWitt 21-7 in Week 1 and also won on the road last week in a 48-22 clubbing of Clarendon.

“They’re a talented ball club,” Carlisle coach Scott Waymire said. “They have skill guys that can take it long. They lost 15 seniors last year and we lost 10, so we’re in the same boat as far as that goes.”

The Bears have overcome inexperience in their backfield with sophomore quarterback Laquarius Hall, who had solid performances against DeWitt and Clarendon. Senior fullback- linebacker Ethan Roberts has been Barton’s go-to guy this year with 175 yards rushing and two touchdowns against Clarendon, along with 12 tackles on the defensive side.

But for coach Van Paschal, now in his second year at Barton after a successful run at 5A program Monticello, youth is not as big a concern as limited depth.

“We’ve lost about one a week,” Paschal said. “We had one go out with a shoulder injury against DeWitt, we lost another to a thumb injury in practice. We just don’t have much depth. If that continues, it’s going to be tough.”

That could be an issue this week against a Carlisle team that boasts considerably more depth than a typical 2A program.

“We’re excited about our team,” Waymire said. “We lost a lot, but we’ve got those guys like Zac King, our three-year starting quarterback, those guys who have been out there.”

The meeting between Carlisle and Barton is also a matchup of two programs steeped in tradition. And while few in the state match Barton’s eight state championships under legendary coach Frank McClellan, including four straight from 1986-89, Paschal said the present is not quite as easy.

“He did a great job of building that,” Paschal said. “But we tell our kids that last year is gone. The way people look at it these days, you’re only as good as your last performance. We’ve had some growing pains, but we haven’t laid down and we’ve competed.”