Big run puts exclamation points on West Orange QB Barrett's first start
| 1:53 p.m. September 4, 2014
ORLANDO — Facing a24-20 deficit on the road with under eight minutes to play, Woody Barrett decided — by way of a bruising, 39-yard touchdown run — that he wasn’t going to let the host Boone Braves spoil his debut as starting quarterback for the West Orange Warriors.
The Evans-transfer and junior quarterback for the Warriors barreled into the north end zone at Boone High School Aug. 30, putting West Orange up 27-24, which would be the eventual final score after the Warriors mounted a late defensive stand to hold off the Braves in their season opener.
Important for early momentum for a team with big aspirations, the win was even more important for Barrett who, following an injury to then-starter Gunnar Ballant in West Orange’s preseason contest against Columbia (Lake City), has been forced to accelerate his mastery of his new program’s offense and lead a talented team that bears a target on its back.
Saturday morning’s big run, a sizable chunk of the signal caller’s 135 rushing yards on the day (Barrett rushed for another touchdown earlier in the game), went a long way toward establishing his status as “the guy” for the Warriors.
“I was so determined — I got to step up (in those types of situations),” Barrett said afterward, recalling his mindset as he bulldozed through a Boone defender to cross the goal line. “I was just so determined to get (to the end zone) and lead my team to victory.”
Warriors head coach Bob Head, who had given Ballant the nod in preseason camp thanks to his mastery of the offense and effectiveness throwing the ball, said he saw plenty of things he liked from Barrett in leading the come-from-behind victory.
“He did some great things and we’re proud of him,” Head said. “I thought he delivered the ball on time … a couple times he ran more than I wanted — I want him to step up in that pocket and throw it.
“He broke some big plays for us,” he said. “It’s just going to get better every week.”
Saturday’s win for West Orange, which was cemented when Boone came up short on a 38-yard field goal as time expired, was an exciting — and sweaty — one. After storms rolled through Central Florida on Friday evening and lightning forced the game, originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. that night, to be postponed, the two teams took the field on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in sweltering heat.
Despite the adversity of the playing conditions, the Warriors held a 20-10 lead at halftime. The Braves came out firing in the third quarter, though, mounting a 14-point swing that eventually put them ahead with 8:02 to play. The touchdown by Barrett, along with an impressive late stand by the West Orange defense, should prove to be things that Head’s team can build on as it prepares for this Friday’s home opener against Freedom.
“When you find a way to win, sometimes they’re not pretty,” Head said. “But if you find a way to win it, it shows that you have some pretty good players.”
Running back Dexter Williams ran for 118 yards on 18 carries for the Warriors, good for an average of 6.6 yards per carry, scoring a touchdown along the way. Wide receiver Eddie Mc- Doom scored West Orange’s fourth touchdown on a pass from Barrett in the first quarter.
Barrett tossed eight completions on 14 attempts on Saturday, good for 84 yards.
Afterward, the Warriors’ new starter under center was happy to have come away with a victory — but also to be out of the blistering Florida heat.
“It is hot,” Barrett said. “It is too hot out here.”