10/03/12 — Barnes flourishes in Kenan's option offense

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Barnes flourishes in Kenan's option offense

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on October 3, 2012 1:49 PM

Buddy Ryan once said of Hall of Fame receiver Chris Carter, "All he does is catch touchdowns."

Ryan would love James Kenan quarterback Dominique Barnes. All he does is throw touchdowns. Through six games Barnes has completed nine passes, five of the nine connections have gone for touchdowns.

"We have been very fortunate in our passing game to make some big plays at big moments," James Kenan head coach Ken Avent Jr. said. "Dominique has developed into a pretty accurate thrower and he has made good decisions so far this season when we have put the ball in his hands."

Barnes' accuracy has also been astounding. The junior has nine completions on just 10 attempts. Barnes' 90 percent completion percentage leads quarterbacks in the News-Argus readership area by 38 percent.

The passing game is not about volume, but rather about opportunity in the Tigers' option offense. James Kenan's talented backfield of Marcelias Sutton, Ja'Quan Williams and Thomas Owens has built a reputation as one of the most productive trios in the area. They have combined for 1,283 yards rushing, led by Sutton's 693 yards on 82 attempts.

"We have proven that we can move the ball on the ground against good defenses," Avent Jr. said. "The biggest thing in this offense is always going to be running the ball and staying away from negative plays."

The ability to run the football has forced the Tigers' opponents to plan for the run. That is when Barnes steps in.

"When we see a team play seven in the box we know we can block that," Avent Jr. said. "When we see eight in the box running gets tougher, but when teams walk a safety down and play nine in the box we have to be able to throw the ball."

Going into a big game this Friday against Tri-County 1-A Conference rival Lakewood, the Tigers expect to have their offense tested by the Leopards' physical defensive front. That means controlling the line of scrimmage will be critical to keeping the Tigers' 6-0 record intact.

"Lakewood has a good football team and they have a very big defensive front seven," Avent Jr. said. "We have to be able to get them blocked so that we can run the ball and then take a shot down the field when the situation calls for it."

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.