BARNESVILLE – As Barnesville enters its sixth season under head coach Blake Allen, the Shamrocks find themselves in familiar territory.
After losing a huge, successful class of seniors following the COVID-ravaged 2020 season (6-3, regional semifinal berth), Barnesville responded with a fine 10-2 record last fall that ended with a loss in the Division VI, Region 23 semifinal to nemesis Fort Frye.
Barnesville has moved up to Division V, Region 19 this season.
With 16 lettermen returning, Allen and his staff have high hopes for this season, but the former Shamrock player is also optimistic.
“We lost a great group of kids … I think we lost 7-8 starters on each side of the ball, but we were kind of in this situation last year, as well,” Allen said. “The only difference is last year we had a lot of kids that had been around the program for a few years. This season we’re young.
“If you look at our roster, nearly half of it is sophomores. We have 18 sophomores out of 39 kids, and a lot of those kids are going to play,” Allen continued. “There are probably 5-6 sophomores that will be starting for us. There’s talent there and the kids work hard. We need to get them some reps so that they are ready for the live game experience.”
Coach Blake Allen discusses the upcoming campaign
Athletic CJ Hannahs (5-9, 155) returns for another season as the Shamrocks quarterback.
“He is our leader and we feel good about that. He was a full-time starter last season and played some as a sophomore, so basically he’s a three-year starter.”
Hannahs earned second team all-state honors last season after passing for 1,553 yards and 12 touchdowns on 106-of-178. He also ran 87 times for 365 yards and half-a-dozen more scores. He averaged 4.2 yards a carry.
“CJ got better and better each week last year and we’ve seen that throughout the off-season,” Allen noted. “He brings confidence to our huddle, not only on offense but defense as well as he plays free safety.”
Other quarterbacks are sophomore returning letter winner Casey Carpenter (5-10, 180) and freshman Easton Huntsman (5-10, 140).
“Casey will play tight end for us, as well. He’s an athlete,” Allen said. “He’s got a great arm and is getting better every day.
Junior Taison Starr (5-9, 180) moves from wide receiver where he earned a letter last fall to the backfield this year.
“He’s a great athlete and has worked hard this summer. We’re excited to see what he can do.”
Sophomore returning letterman Salvador Almaraz (6-0, 250) is the fullback. He carried five times for 25 yards and a TD last season in limited action.
“He’s a big kid that can move. He’s very athletic and has good size.”
Classmate Camden Carpenter (6-0, 150) is another kid Allen likes. He also lettered as a freshman.
Sophomore Koby Jones (5-7, 155) is another kid the coaches are excited about.
Also listed at running back are freshman Hines Ford (5-6, 155) and Logan Craker (5-9, 165).
The wide receivers are a pair of returning starters in juniors Jason Castello (5-8, 150) and Luke Detling (5-7, 140).
“Both of them are outstanding athletes,” Allen said. “They both run great routes and both have really good hands. We’re excited to see what they can do.”
Detling caught five passes for 46 yards, a 9.2 average per catch.
Senior returning letterman Corbin Wise (5-11, 170) is ready to show what he can do, according to Allen. Sophomore Bradey McIntire (6-0, 160) is also seeking playing time after lettering as a freshman.
Other wide receiver candidates include sophomores Bode Carpenter (5-4, 125), Chase Sharp (5-6, 125), Aden Zumock (5-5, 115) and Eli Messenger (5-9, 140); and freshman Logan Taylor (6-3, 180).
Listed at tight end are seniors Jordon Smith (6-0, 150) and Easton Little (5-10, 155); sophomore Karter Kaplet (5-8, 160) and freshman Evan Huff (5-6, 155).
Smith is a returning letterman.
Senior Quentin Leasure (6-0, 305) is another two-year starter for the Shamrocks and will anchor both lines.
“Quentin is another all-Ohioan from last season,” Allen pointed out. “We’re looking for big things out of him this year.”
There are three sophomores battling for starting spots along the front. 3They include Marshall Meade (6-0, 190), Luke Taylor (6-1, 195) and Braden Butler (5-11, 250). Meade will be the center. Junior Hank Johnson (5-10, 205) is at left guard and senior Hunter Phillips (5-6, 180) is also in the mix.
“Those are the six guys we are going to count on for now,” Allen said of his offensive front.
Others in the mix are senior Robby Nixon (5-7, 170) and sophomore Montgomery Evans (5-11, 210).
Also listed along the line are sophomore Blake Kirk (5-9, 240); and freshmen Macallan Cacioppo (5-9, 230), Eric Wilson (6-0, 250), Brayden Wells (5-10, 215), Jaxon Smith (5-4, 150), Cooper Truax (5-4, 145) and Dillon Lucas (5-7, 220).
Along with Leasure, Nixon is a two-year vet, while Johnson, Meade, Taylor and Phillip all lettered last season.
Defensively, the Shamrocks will line up in their basic 4-4.
Leasure will be one of the down tackles, with Nixon on the other side.
“They complement each other because Quentin is the prototypical big guy who stops the run, while Robby has some quickness and comes off the ball real well.”
Johnson, Luke Castello, Evans, Phillips, Butler, Cacioppo, Wilson, Kirk, Wells and Lucas also are listed as tackles.
The ends are Taylor and and Meade.
“I’m really excited about these two kids on this side of the ball,” Allen allowed. “They are really built like defensive ends, and both are really athletic.”
Other ends are Smith and Logan Taylor.
Starr and Almaraz are the inside linebackers.
“Taison played on the outside for us last year and is moving inside this year. He’s our leader out there. Salvador is a big, athletic kid.”
Casey Carpenter and Camden Carpenter are the outside ‘backers Little will get some time.
Other linebackers are Ford, Little, Jones, Craker, Huff and Kaplet.
Hannahs will man the free safety spot with Detling in the secondary as well an outside linebacker. McIntire and Castello at the corners, with Wise also getting some time there. Bode Carpenter will also see time.
Others in the secondary include Messenger, Zumock, Huntsman, Smith, Truax and Sharp.
Special teams have sophomore Evan Lough (6-2, 165) handling the kicking and punting duties.
“We’re excited about this kid. He has gone to some camps over the summer. He has a good leg. He needs some work on his mechanics, but he shows promise.”
Almaraz will also do some punting.
The schedule is the same with the exception of week 6 when Worthington Christian visits Shamrock Stadium. They replace Steubenville Catholic.
“It’s a tough schedule. It really is,” Allen stressed. “Right off the bat we’ve got Buckeye Local which has been improving the last few years. Last year came right down to the wire, so we know they will be ready for us.
“We have to go to their place this year. We know they will be ready for us,” he continued. “We get no breaks and we have to be ready every week this year.”
Home games are with Buckeye Trail (Week 3), Worthington Christian (Week 6), Toronto (Week 7), Shenandoah (Week 9) and Milk Bucket rival Union Local (Week 10). Away games are at Buckeye Local (Week 1), Meadowbrook (Week 2), Shadyside (Week 4), River (Week 5) and Monroe Central (Week 7).
The coaching staff has two additions in Neal Zaccagnini and former Shamrock Brady Treherne, who is the son of former Barnesville head coach Al Treherne.
Other coaches are Chris Hannahs, Bryce Allen, D.J.Butler, Dylan Rogers and Tony Starr. Ed Eberhart is the equipment manager.
Gone from last season are Gavin Carpenter, Spencer Bliss, Owyn Wise, Chase Connor, Connor Jones, Orion Smith, Logan Shepherd, Austin Mayhugh, Avery Clouse, Arick Clark, Ethan Spangenburg and Kevan Johnson.