George Barker has been a high school football coach for many years.
But he did something last weekend that he’s never done before.
And that was to win an all-star game as a head coach.
Barker’s South All-Stars did it last Saturday night at Charleston’s Laidley Field with a 36-28 overtime win over the North. Barker, the Chapmanville Regional High School football coach, had been a South All-Star assistant but had never been the head honcho.
Five Logan County players were a part of Barker’s South Cardinals, paced by Logan High School running back Joe Street, who led the South with 13 rushes for 76 yards and two touchdowns on runs of 7 and 6.
Also on the South All-Star squad was Logan’s David Toney, a tailback/linebacker, who is headed to play at West Virginia State. Toney also had a fine night as he ran for 42 yards on just three carries, including a 25-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Three other Logan County players took part in the game — Chapmanville Regional senior linemen Joe Woody, John Toler and Thomas Belcher.
Barker, who has led the Chapmanville Tigers to six straight winning seasons and five Class AA playoff appearances in a row, said he enjoyed the North-South coaching experience.
“It was a great time,” Barker said. “The rules of the game favor the offense. What defense that got played was because they were just great defensive players. It was a lot of fun and I think our kids had a blast. It was an experience of a lifetime for everyone involved. I’m just glad that it turned out to be positive for everybody.”
Belcher was a late addition to the South team.
“We had a kid drop out and we didn’t have enough linemen, so we added Thomas,” Barker said. “We knew that he could play. They (county players) all played well. They are all good kids. I couldn’t have asked for any better kids. It was all ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir.’ It was a really good positive experience and we hope that we can influence some of them to keep on playing.”
Both teams put on an offensive show.
Cody Carter and Toquan Hayes of Huntington High School sparked a South offense that broke game records with 25 first downs and 543 net yards. At the half, the teams had combined for 27 first downs and 567 yards, 312 by the South All-Stars alone.
Barker also credited the running of two Lincoln County High School backs — Zach Whitten and Kyle Garretson. Whitten ended up scoring on a pair of two-point conversion runs.
“When we needed tough yards those two got it for us,” Barker said. “They were great.”