国产自拍

Calm and consistent: Pate Barrett's go-ahead field goal sets up Memorial-Reitz rematch

Anthony Kristensen
Evansville Courier & Press
  • Final: Memorial 17, Jasper 14

JASPER, Ind. 鈥 Pate Barrett was nervous. At least a little bit. That鈥檚 all he admitted to.

The Memorial sophomore kicker entered the fray with 1:36 remaining in a time game and having already seen one field-goal attempt blocked. The 26-yard shot sailed through the uprights, just as they have throughout the season, but the moment wasn鈥檛 too much for him. Kickers, more often than not, don鈥檛 want to be the story.

This was one of the exceptions.聽

His left-footed thud 鈥 along with a fourth-down defensive stop 鈥 gave the Tigers a 17-14 win over Jasper during Friday's Class 4A Sectional 24 semifinal and provided them a rematch against Reitz next week for the championship.

Scoreboard:Check out the Evansville-area high school football scores from sectional semifinals

鈥淢aking that was the most important one,鈥 Barrett said. 鈥淚 just put (the blocked field goal) behind when I had to go out there and I relaxed and made it.鈥

Memorial football coach John Hurley addresses his team following the 17-14 win over Jasper on Friday.

Both Memorial and Jasper have played run-heavy offensive styles throughout the season. The Tigers have done so more out of necessity with quarterback Matthew Fisher鈥檚 injury, though he made a brief one-play cameo Friday 鈥 a 48-yard completion to Dylen Kendrick. Memorial won the ground-majority matchup with two non-running plays: Barrett鈥檚 kick and wide receiver Simon Schulz鈥檚 first high school passing touchdown.

Stand-in slinger Luke Ellspermann passed to Schulz, who found Dasmon Johnson in the end zone for the Tigers鈥 second score.聽

鈥淚鈥檓 always ready to throw it,鈥 Schulz said. 鈥淢y face lit up and I was ready for sure.鈥

The postgame conversations always came back to the crucial, winning play. Barrett, a short but athletic 5-foot-7 kicker who could play elsewhere but focuses on field goals, sent Memorial through and Jasper home. The mentality to put the previous block behind him and make the routine-yet-nervewracking shot was admirable; his postgame smile seemed relieving. Barrett had the final say and gave the Tigers another shot at Reitz.

鈥淭hat鈥檚 tough stuff,鈥 Memorial coach John Hurley said. 鈥淲e try to put him in tough spots in practice and try to make him uncomfortable in practice at times because he鈥檚 going to be in uncomfortable situations in a game.

鈥淗e handled it like a man tonight.鈥

Pate Barrett

Barrett received encouraging words on the sidelines after his blocked kick. Nothing changes his approach. A couple steps back, a few deep breaths and he lines himself up. He鈥檚 relaxed on the surface, even if there were some nagging nerves underneath on the clincher. Though just a sophomore, he鈥檚 been through this before. He鈥檚 been successful; he鈥檚 missed; he鈥檚 been clutch; he鈥檚 been blocked.

Nothing changes the approach. Not even the brink of elimination.

鈥淗e鈥檚 very consistent and he doesn鈥檛 get fazed a lot,鈥 Schulz said. 鈥淗e鈥檚 very confident in what he does and that just shows the work he does during the week. He鈥檚 a true competitor.鈥

Barrett entered the locker room to his teammates chanting about their win and looking ahead to next week. There鈥檚 plenty to clean and much to scout with the Reitz rematch on the horizon. Memorial beat a good Wildcats team that possessed one of the stronger running games and defenses in the area, but there鈥檚 still a need for improvement. Those celebrating know there鈥檚 more work to be done.

The sophomore kicker, though, won鈥檛 be of concern. He鈥檚 consistent and unwavering in his approach; confident on the surface even if there are submerged nerves. Barrett鈥檚 kick won the night and gave Memorial a shot at a title.

That鈥檚 worth a story, even if the first one got blocked.

鈥淚鈥檝e missed one before and I get right back at it,鈥 Barrett said. 鈥淚 know I鈥檓 gonna have another opportunity and I gotta show out to that one.鈥