Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

High Schools

August 29, 2012

Making great strides

Combined Barker/Roy-Hart grid program garnered repeated headlines in 2011

MIDDLEPORT — It’s going to be impossible to top last year’s amazing, incredible championship Barker/Royalton-Hartland varsity football run   — but you can bet they’ll try.

Head coach Bill Bruning’s combined Barker/Roy-Hart grid line-up features a number of key returning starters from last year’s   7-2 Genesee Region League-championship team as they continue to prepare for Friday’s 7 p.m. opener at Alden.
Season number two of the merger between two of eastern Niagara County’s smaller high schools brings a whole new set of opponents   for Bruning’s squad, which goes from Section V to an associate member of the B East Division in the Section VI Football Federation.
The team’s divisional opponents will include three very familiar Niagara-Orleans League foes — Newfane, Albion and Medina   — along with Alden, Depew and East High of Buffalo.
“It’s going to be a huge adjustment,” Bruning said. “The competition is going to be tremendous for us, but the kids are really   looking forward to the challenge. There is a lot of excitement about it. The kids want to show they can play with the best.”
Key losses to graduation at the skill postions are quarterback Connor Baker, running back Austin Blackley and running back   Josh Haight, along with linemen Codi McKee, Tanner Ruhlen, Steve Harris, Justin Voekler and Levi Offhaus.
Blackley scored 20 touchdowns and rushed for more than 1,300 yards, while Baker threw for almost 1,000 yards and 22 touchdowns.
“We lost some real good kids but we still have a good stable of kids coming back,” Bruning said. “The transition of Jake Haight   (from tight end last year) to quarterback is going pretty well. He’s a great athlete and understands our offense. Every day   he’s working very hard. I think once he starts feeling more comfortable, our team will be more comfortable. It’s a work in   progress, but I like his progress.”

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