03/10/05 — CBA's Barnes signs with Catawba

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CBA's Barnes signs with Catawba

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 10, 2005 2:18 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock senior Shonte Barnes proved a little confidence can go along way.

Barnes admits he was a little timid early in his varsity career when it came to toting the pigskin. Then, an injury to running back Keith Cobb early in the 2003 season thrust Barnes more into the spotlight in the Falcons' backfield.

More carries went his way. With those carries came confidence.

"It was experience. Getting on the field and touching the ball ... I was more relaxed," Barnes said. "At the beginning it wasn't like that, but with more experience I felt like I could do it more often."

In his senior campaign, Barnes rushed for over 1,300 yards, averaging 113 yards per game with 16 touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound back was a first team, News-Argus all-area performer. He helped lead Aycock to its best season under six-year coach Randy Pinkowski as the Falcons went 9-4 after a 6-2 Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference finish.

His exploits didn't go unnoticed.

On Wednesday, Barnes, the son of Retha Applewhite, signed a Letter of Intent to play football at Salisbury's Catawba College. Barnes will join former Aycock standout Thomas Presley on the Indians' roster.

"We are very fortunate to have a great Division II program in Catawba so close by," Pinkowski said. "I've got to give Thomas a pat on the back, because he has opened the door for other athletes from this school. He has laid some groundwork."

As a freshman, Barnes will likely play behind upper-classmen Mario Crowe and sophomore Cory Fisher. The Catawba coaching staff is bringing Barnes, a two-way starter as a junior, in as a running back.

"One of the reasons we like him is because he is a versatile athlete. We've got a rising senior and a sophomore, and both of those guys are scheduled to get most of the touches," Catawba coach Chip Hester dais. "Everytime we open a camp we go with the best players at a position. I wouldn't say it was out of the question for him (Barnes) to get some playing time next year.

"We are bringing him in as a running back, but the only way we would move him is if we felt like he could help us right away at another position."

Barnes was impressed with the perennially strong football prowess of Catawba, but understands his education is most important. He plans on studying biology with hopes of becoming a teacher after graduation.

"It was more of an academic thing. I know I can play football now, but I can't when I'm 60," Barnes said. "I know they can take me farther than any of the other schools I was looking at from an academic standpoint."

The Indians finished 7-4 last season and lost 24-20 in the first round of the Division II playoffs at Arkansas Tech.

Barnes is currently competing for the Aycock men's track team in the shotput, triple jump and 4x200 relay.