The Digital Harbor quarterback’s offensive line was outsized against Patterson and gave up a total of 11 sacks. But each hit Barnes took a hit he shrugged off. There were a few times he had to sit out plays — twice on Saturday and once on Monday.
He played through pain in his shoulder and groin. But nothing was keeping him from giving Digital Harbor its biggest win in recent years — a 35-34 victory over Patterson that took two days to play.
“Dominic’s a gamer,” said Digital Harbor coach Keith Rudolph. “It’s going to take a serious injury to get this boy out of the game. It’s going to take a nation of millions to hold him back.”
Despite the sack total, Barnes gashed the Patterson defense time and time again. He finished with 177 rushing yards and two touchdowns — of 60 and 51 yards — on 24 carries. Take away the yardage lost from the 11 sacks and he would have finished with with 257 yards on the ground.
Barnes, a senior basketball standout who is playing high school football for the first time, has been a big help to a team that finished 1-9 a year ago. Ankle injuries prevented him from playing football the past two seasons.
“We worked too hard over the summer and in practice this past week,” Barnes said. “We wanted this game really bad. Plus, the players that played last year wanted it bad.”
But Barnes didn’t do all of his damage against Patterson with his legs. He also completed seven of 13 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Barnes accounted for 278 of Digital Harbor’s 348 total yards, meaning he was 80 percent of the offensive output.
“It shows his talent,” Rudolph said. “He is gifted. The young man Dominic Barnes is playing on another level. This is his first year playing high school football. I’m happy it’s with us.”
After lightning suspended the game with 8:01 left in the third quarter on Saturday, Digital Harbor opened sluggish on Monday. The Clippers jumped out to a 34-21 lead with 4:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.
That’s when Barnes took over. On the Rams’ first play from scrimmage, Barnes heaved a 50-yard pass over the Patterson secondary to receiver Devante Conyers for a touchdown. Barnes ran the 2-point conversion in to cut Patterson’s lead to 34-29. After the defense forced a three-and-out and a punt, Barnes went back to work, this time evading tacklers on a third-and-9 en route to a 51-yard rushing touchdown. This put Digital Harbor ahead 35-34 and gave the Rams a thrilling win.
“Sometimes you just can’t get me,” Barnes said. “I just find ways to get out of it, stay on my feet and find open gaps.”