Color this game UGLY.
Forget the fact that the Bears had little trouble dispatching the hapless Bald Knob Bulldogs – this game was not a shinning moment in the storied history of Barton football. In a game that was marred by turnovers, 14 to be exact, the Bears committed eight of those miscues and still managed to post a 37-14 victory over the home standing Bulldogs.
For the Bears, the sloppy play carried over from the previous week in which they turned the ball over six times in a 25-19 loss to the Episcopal Wildcats.
Among the highlights of the contest for the Bears were three interceptions by Justice Cole who now holds the state high school record for career interceptions with 28.
Barton scored 28 unanswered points before the Bulldogs ever got on the scoreboard. Laquarius Hall scored the first touchdown on a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line at the 3:35 mark of the opening quarter. The 50-yard drive took less than three minutes.
Less than a minute later Cole hauled in a 67-yard pass from Hall for the second Bears' score of the night.
Both of Barton's extra point tries were blocked and the Bears led 12-0 after the first 12 minutes of action.
The Bears would not score again until the 3:12 mark of the second quarter. Cole's record-breaking interception would have been for a touchdown but a holding penalty nullified the score but not the possession.
Barton rambled to the Bald Knob six-yard line but fumbled the ball away. On the next play the Bulldogs returned the favor and coughed the ball right back up and the Bears had it again at the six. This time the Bears cashed in with a 6-yard run by Cameron Anderson. Anderson helped give the Bears the great field position with some nifty runs on the team's previous possession.
A fake punt that failed to fool the Bears set up a Justin Wilson 37-yard field goal with just 55 seconds left in the half. The Bulldogs missed a 42-yard field goal attempt earlier in the second quarter.
It appeared as though Barton would get another chance to score when the snap from center sailed over the Bald Knob quarterback's head with 13 seconds to play before the half. Wilson's second 37-yard attempt of the quarter sailed just wide of its mark.
Barton led 21-0 at the intermission.
Bald Knob mounted their first serious scoring threat following a Barton fumble at the Bear 31. However, two plays later Cole picked up his second interception of the night at the Barton 1-yard line.
Jarrod Chandler followed the interception with a 99-yard run from scrimmage. Wilson's successful extra point put the Bears up 28-0. For the Bears it was their third touchdown from 90 or more yards in two weeks.
Page 2 of 2 - Try as they may, the Bears couldn't keep the Bulldogs out of the end zone. With 4:14 to play in the third quarter, Bald Knob quarterback Grant Glaze tossed an 18-yard scoring strike to close the gap to 28-6.
Chajobie Fulcher set up a 25-yard Wilson field goal with a 60-yard kick off return. That ended the third quarter scoring with Barton on top 31-6.
Bald Knob was on the move again when Cole picked off his third pass of the night in the end zone but he fumbled it right back to the Bulldogs when he tried to run the ball out. Bald Knob punched it in from a yard out on the next play. A successful 2-point pass trimmed the score to 31-14.
Barton's final score was set up by a Garrett Smart interception, the Bears fourth pick of the night. Tristian Graves, who stepped in for Hall, who was nursing a sprained ankle from the previous week, launched a 51-yard scoring strike to Tyler Jarrett.
Barton, 8-1, 5-1, takes on Harding Academy, 9-0, 6-0, Thursday night, in a game with plenty of playoff implications for the Bears.