REDDING, Conn. – Joel Barlow High running back Alex Lockwood said he has never come close in his football career to having a game like he did last Friday against Bethel. Then again, not many running backs have.
Lockwood touched the ball four times, and all four plays resulted in touchdowns. He had scoring runs of 80, 75, 64 and 6 yards for the Falcons in a 48-20 romp. He picked up 225 yards for the game, an average of more than 56 yards per carry.
“It’s the best feeling you can have in football to turn the corner and see nothing but green grass in front of you,’’ said Lockwood, a senior from Easton. “I just hit the sideline and go.”
All of Lockwood’s runs came on similar plays. Quarterback Jack Shaban took the snap from center and faked to the fullback going straight up the middle. Shaban cut outside and reacted to the defense. If he was contained, he pitched to Lockwood. If Shaban was not contained, he carried it himself. Shaban also had a big game against Bethel, rushing for 85 yards on 10 carries.
“We’ve been running the option since I’ve been at Barlow,’’ Lockwood said. “It really relies on the quarterback. He’s doing a great job on making the right reads. I have to be ready at all times. When we break the huddle, I have no idea if I’m getting the ball or not.”
Barlow’s offense has not been stopped in two games. The Falcons rolled over New Fairfield, 34-14, in their first game, with Shaban rushing for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Barlow’s average of 41 points per game is ninth in the state. Lockwood is eighth in the state in rushing with 327 yards, and his 19.24 yards per carry is better than the average of the top 100 backs in the nation, according to statistics on Max Preps.
“We have weapons at fullback and quarterback, so the defense has to play them,’’ Lockwood said. “I was the last guy out there.”
The offensive production has fueled a 2-0 state for the Falcons for the first time 2008. They are looking for their first winning season since 2006, when they went 7-3. Barlow went 5-5 in 2009 but managed just five wins over the past two seasons combined.
“We’re feeling good about our chances,’’ Lockwood said. “We’re keeping focused, and we’re looking forward to keeping it going.”
Although it’s early in the season, Barlow looks like it could reach the Class M state tournament. The Falcons could be 7-0 heading into November — its next five opponents are a combined 2-8 in the first two weeks of the season.
The season might come down to a brutal closing stretch against Brookfield, Masuk and Weston, all of which are unbeaten. A Thanksgiving Day showdown against the Trojans for a state playoff berth could be at stake.
“I don’t think too many people would have guessed that,’’ Lockwood said. “We’re trying to take it one day at a time. We’re doing well, and hopefully we’ll end up playing in states.”
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