Blake Barnett powers Erie Tigers to Class 4A state title over Palmer Ridge

US

FORT COLLINS — Blake Barnett finished his high school career as a one-legged Superman and, more importantly, as a state champion.

Finally.

“This was a true fairytale, and I don’t think I could have asked for a better ending,” the flamboyant and ultra-confident senior quarterback said after No. 2 Erie beat top-ranked Palmer Ridge, 20-6, Saturday to win the Class 4A title at Canvas Stadium.

With his sprained left ankle heavily taped, Barnett, ever the showstopper and usually faster than a speeding bullet, hopped 35 yards downfield on his right leg to wrap running back Braylon Toliver in an end zone bearhug after Toliver rambled for a game-clinching 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Moments after the clock struck zero, Barnett hopped to the sidelines, hoisted himself onto a bench and conducted the jubilant Erie crowd in a postgame symphony. Next, Barnett hopped to the stands where his father, Steve, hoisted him up the wall for another victory hug.

“The way a lot of people want to portray Blake, he would have stayed over there on the sidelines and pouted and cried when he got hurt,” said Erie coach Jeff Giger, who led the Tigers to their first football crown since they won the Class-A championship in 1997. “But he went back out there on the field and toughed it out.”

Barnett, who’s headed to Kansas State on a football scholarship, was unstoppable for most of three quarters before injuring his ankle when he was tackled on the sidelines with 2:20 left in the third.

“They checked to see if I had a broken bone, and once they said it wasn’t broken, they said, ‘We can tape you up and see how tough you are,’” Barnett said. “I couldn’t run, but I knew I could still throw, so there was no way I wasn’t going back out there.”

Barnett finished with 77 yards rushing and a touchdown on 20 carries. He threw for 151 yards and a touchdown, completing 15 of 20 passes. He connected on his first nine passes. Playing free safety, he also intercepted a Palmer Ridge throw in the end zone.

Erie (13-1) had to conquer its demons to win the title. The Tigers suffered a painful 41-34 loss to Chatfield in the 2021 Class 4A title game, and a goal-line fumble by Barnett in the final seconds cost them in last year’s 36-32 semifinal loss against eventual state champion Broomfield.

“To finally be able to win it, it’s a surreal feeling,” said senior defensive lineman Jackson Cowgill, who’s headed to Washington State. “I’m so proud of this team. I’ve watched each and every one of these boys get better every year.”

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

2024 boxing ring return: Potential fight options for Houston native, two-division champion Jermall Charlo’s next bout
Sen. John Thune picks up two endorsements to replace McConnell as GOP leader
Biden Cost Virginia Thousands of Jobs with Failure on Domestic Production of Personal Protective Equipment
L.A. County D.A. campaign contributions: Hochman and other rivals out-raise Gascón
51-year-old Taylor Swift fan banned from stadium after sneaking into Eras Tour concert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *