Cameron Anderson scored three touchdowns on runs of 53, 10 and 15 yards during the first three quarters of play as the Barton Bears managed to hold off a determined and stubborn DeWitt Dragons squad, 38-29 in the season opener at Frank McClellan Field Friday night.
Anderson's first touchdown of the night came at the 11:32 mark of the first quarter. The 53-yard run came on the Bears' first offensive play from scrimmage of the season.
But the DeWitt Dragons were determined to prove they were no cupcakes and put together an impressive opening drive of their own. Dragon quarterback Dawson Moser managed to shred the Bear defense as he completed several short passes across the middle. Moser would finish the night with three touchdown passes.
DeWitt was unable to punch the ball into the end zone and eventually had to settle for a 26-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 6-3 with 5:06 to play in the first quarter.
Barton responded with a 68-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Laquarius Hall capped it off with a 1-yard scoring run. A 47-yard pass from Hall to Anderson set up the touchdown.
With Barton holding a 12-3 lead after the first 12 minutes of play, the Dragons and Bears exchanged touchdowns during the next quarter of action. DeWitt closed the gap to 12-9 when Moser clicked on the first of his touchdown tosses on the night. This one covered 15 yards.
If the Dragons had remembered to play some defense along the way the outcome might have been different. It took the Bears just three minutes to respond to DeWitt's score. With 7:34 to play in the half, Anderson scored his second TD of the night on 10-yard scamper.
Holding a 10-point advantage at 19-9, DeWitt stormed back. This time, Moser connected for an 11-yard scoring strike and with just 59 ticks left on the clock before the intermission, the Dragons were right back in this one at 19-16.
But lightning strikes quickly and this time it came in the form of Chajobie Fulcher, who retuned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a Barton score just 13 seconds later.
Barton led 25-16 at the half.
DeWitt outscored the Bears 13-6 in the third quarter. Moser's 8-yard scoring toss came at the 7:02 mark, narrowing Barton's lead to 25-23. Less than two minutes later, the Bears were on the scoreboard again on a 15-yard run by Anderson. The Bears' apparent successful 2-point conversion pass was nullified when it was ruled that it an ineligible receiver had caught it. Nevertheless, Barton extended its lead to 31-23 with almost a quarter and a half yet to play.
The Dragons scored what was to be their last touchdown on the night with 53 seconds to play in the third quarter.
Barton's final score came at the 8:45 mark of the final quarter following a lengthy drive. Quinton Simmons punched it in from a yard out.
Page 2 of 2 - It took all the Bears had to finally slay the Dragons. DeWitt squandered several opportunities with four interceptions by the Bears' secondary, which overall had a tough night. Justice Cole had two picks in the contest to add to his record career totals at Barton. Tristian Graves and Hall also had interceptions. Hall's came in the end zone and officially closed the book on any comeback hopes the Dragons held.
During the course of the lengthy contest that lasted close to three hours, several Barton players succumbed to some heat-related cramps and injuries.
Barton, 1-0, will hit the road the next four weeks and will travel to Des Arc this Friday for another non-conference contest. Des Arc posted a 38-6 victory over Woodlawn opening night.