JACKSON TWP — Opposing defenses tried to keep Forrest Barnes in their sights this season. More often than not, however, they were left looking at the back of his jersey as he raced into the end zone.
Seneca Valley’s senior running back totaled 152 points in nine regular season games to claim the Butler Eagle Scoring Trophy.
It is the first time in the 22-year history of the trophy that it was captured by a Seneca Valley player. Barnes’ point total is the most of any trophy winner since Mars’ Bill Bair put up 204 in 2007.
“He’s not only incredibly talented, but he is also a good kid, the kind everybody roots for,” Raiders’ coach Don Holl said of Barnes.
Barnes, who managed 1,819 yards from scrimmage this year, scored 25 touchdowns in the regular season (23 rushing, one receiving and one on a kickoff return) and added a two-point conversion.
Six of his scores came from at least 50 yards out, including a pair of 90-plus yard runs.
Barnes turned a Sept. 21 non-conference meeting with Connellsville at NexTier Stadium into a game for the ages, rushing for 306 yards and seven touchdowns, both school records.
“I’m always going to remember the Connellsville game,” said Barnes, “but the playoff game against Hempfield (a 50-20 win Nov. 2) also stands out for me. It had been a long time since Seneca won a home playoff game. Hempfield had some really talented players and to beat them, knowing it was the last home game for us seniors, it was special.
“It’s going to be tough to leave high school football behind,” he added. “We’ve been teammates for a long time and have such good chemistry.”
Barnes proved to be a leader not only with his play on the field, but also in the locker room.
“He took on a pretty neat role this year,” said Holl. “Before the coaches talked to the players before each game, Forrest would get in front of the team and say a few things. It says a lot about the respect the players have for him.”
“What I tried to get across to my teammates was that no matter what was in front of us, we had the athletes to get the job done,” Barnes said.
Barnes hopes to play college football and will be visiting Robert Morris University later this month. Other schools interested in him include Bowling Green, Penn State, Akron, West Virginia and California (Pa.) University. He has yet to commit to any of those schools.
“I felt I was an average player after my sophomore year,” said Barnes. “Since then, one of the things that has really improved for me is my vision. It allows me to make better cuts and I know when to lower my shoulder into somebody or just try to outrun them.”
Holl believes Barnes has a trait just as valuable as any of his physical abilities.
“He’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win,” he said.