BARNESVILLE – They drink from the “milk bucket” in Barnesville like 2006. This is the last time Barnesville put up a perfect 10-0 regular season in football.
On Friday night, rivals Union Local and western Belmont County’s Barnesville went head-to-head at a standing room-only Shamrock Stadium, and despite the offensive fireworks it took a crucial defensive position to salvage a 29-26 win and the perfect season .
“I’m speechless,” said Barnesville head coach Blake Allen during a wild celebration. “These kids deserve all the credit. They’ve worked so hard this season and it’s nice to see all that hard work paying off.”
Allen was a senior in the 2006 roster that defeated Kirtland in the first round of the playoffs before losing 14-8 to Warren JFK in overtime to finish 11-1.
“These kids will remember it for the rest of their lives,” Allen noticed. “Nobody can take that away from them.”
There were times when a perfect season didn’t look promising, including the waning moments of back-and-forth play when the Jets (5-5) had the first and the goal at the Barnesville 13. However, a back pass was lost two yards on the first down and Jaksan Price was stopped by Quentin Leasure after a 2-yard gain. The prize was brought down again without a win in third place by Taison Starr and Luke Detling who fielded a fourth and ten out of the 13 with 32.5 on the clock.
After a Union Local timeout, quarterback Carter Blake’s pass fell to the turf and handed the ball to the Shamrocks, who took a knee to end the game.
“We had our chances. We just didn’t use it.” a dejected Union Local head coach Bernie Thompson allowed. “It’s up to me and my coaching staff. In such situations we have to get better.
“The kids played their hair out” Thompson continued. “They gave everything and left everything on the pitch.”
CJ Hannahs was down 26-21 after former Shamrock Hayden McCrate jumped from 4 yards to give the Jets an 8-24 lead and put the Shamrocks on his back. The senior quarterback carried the ball for 65 yards three times in a row to set his team up at the Union Local 15. He tagged to Starr, who broke up the middle, made a cut inside the 10 and went into the end zone. Allen opted for two to create a 3-point difference and Hannahs found Starr open on the left side of the endzone to make it 29-26.
The 4-play, 80-yard drive was determined by Hannah’s 48-yard dash around his left end on the first down. For the game, Hannahs ran 22 times for 201 yards and two 5-yard scoring runs. He also completed 10 of 14 passes for 143 yards, including an important 76-yard pitch-and-catch with Starr in the third quarter that made it 21-20 in the hosts’ favor.
“We appreciate this trophy very much” Hannahs said about the “Milk Bucket” which he has now won four times. “We played together as a team tonight. It was a huge team win, but we’re not done yet.”
Price had a 39-yard scoring run in the third quarter to give UL a 20-14 lead. He finished with 177 yards on 22 carries. Blake added 92 on 18 tries and opened the scoring with a 13-yard leap. Blake also passed for 126 yards on 10 of 15.
Barnesville was also 10–0 in 1992 (finished 12–1) and 1967. It was also 8–0 in 1929 and 8–0–1 in 1936.
Both teams will compete in the postseason in Barnesville in Division V, Region 19, where it finished a solid third, according to Ohio high school football playoff guru Joe Eitel. Meanwhile, Union Local has been listed eighth in the same region for a fourth straight week despite the loss, meaning the Jets could host a home game next week.
The official playoff pairings will be announced sometime on Sunday.
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