Barton leads Kamiak to season-opening victory | Football

Senior running back scores 2 touchdowns as Knights beat Braves
By David Pan | Sep 06, 2017
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak senior running back Ben Barton runs for a big gain during the Knights’ 14-6 victory over Bishop Blanchet Thursday, Aug. 31, at Goddard Stadium.

Kamiak’s Ben Barton waited almost a year for Friday’s season opener.

After suffering a season-ending broken leg in the third regular season game last year, Barton wanted nothing more than to return to the gridiron.

The wait was worth it.

Barton rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Knights to a 14-6 victory over Bishop Blanchet in a non-conference football game Thursday, Aug. 31, at Goddard Stadium.

“It just felt good to get back on the field,” the senior running back said.

Kamiak coach Dan Mack was glad to see Barton in the backfield. Barton accounted for most of Kamiak’s yardage. The Knights finished with 187 total yards.

“He’s back to his old form – second effort yards after contact,” Mack said. “He’s definitely the inspirational leader of our team.”

Bishop Blanchet (0-1) took a 6-0 lead on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Joey Riley to tight end Jack Shannon at the 5:04 mark of the first quarter. A 2-point pass attempt was unsuccessful.

Kamiak responded with a 7-yard touchdown run by Barton with 3:21 remaining in the second quarter. Trevor Vallins’ successful extra point attempt gave the Knights a 7-6 lead.

Barton extended the Kamiak advantage to 14-6 on a 50-yard run with just under two minutes left in the game.

“The linemen were hitting their blocks and just executing,” Barton said.

Mack also liked the performance of the line. The Braves were playing Kamiak’s receivers tight, which forced the Knights to turn to their running game.

“I thought our offensive line did a wonderful job coming together here in the last couple of weeks,” Mack said.

The Kamiak defense regrouped following the Braves’ first and only score of the contest.

“At first we were playing on our heels,” Barton said. “We weren’t as into the game. It was the first time starting for a lot of our guys. So once we got past the angst and anxiety stuff, we just got to hit and were getting fired up and making plays and attacking them rather than letting them attack us.

The Knights also were the beneficiaries of some ill-advised Bishop Blanchet penalties on offense.

The Braves had a touchdown pass called back in the fourth quarter due to a penalty.

“In a sense, we got lucky,” Barton said. “So that just means we have to play better. We can’t be relying on penalties. We need to make more plays.”

Kamiak’s defense did have some playmakers, as senior linebacker Hiram Grayson recorded a pair of sacks on fourth down to shut down the Bishop Blanchet offense. Junior Bryce Cote picked off a Braves’ pass on a fake punt attempt.

Senior linebacker Anthony Armad sealed the victory with another interception late in the game.

Barton said that the defense’s play, especially Grayson, fired him up on offense.

“Hiram Grayson, one of our senior captains, did a wonderful job blitzing,” Barton said. “If somebody makes a blitz for a turnover, you know everyone’s fired up. That carries on to the offensive side of the ball. I feel like that’s what got me my touchdowns. I was fired up. I wanted to answer for what Hiram did for us.”

Kamiak overcame a pair of turnovers on offense.

“It was a grind, but our kids stayed focused,” Mack said. “Everything is correctable. All the mistakes are correctable. … I thought our defense played very well. They bent a little bit but did not break. They kept their poise. I think as the game went along they got a little more comfortable with their assignments.”

Barton was glad to come away with a victory but added that the Knights have a lot of work ahead.

“If we want to compete in Wesco 4A, we have to play much better than we did tonight,” Barton said.

Mack was most pleased with his players’ determination to secure the win.

“They kept grinding and grinding and grinding and we were able to get the W,” Mack said.

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