November 27, 2007

Barnes a state champion

Ryan Barnes and his Carmel H.S. (Indiana) teammates had been on the brink of a state championship before, but it didn't turn out the way they wanted it to. Saturday night, it did.

Carmel defeated previously No. 1 and then-unbeaten Indianapolis Pike H.S. 16-7 to claim the school's sixth championship and first since 1989. With the RCA Dome set to be demolished next season, it was also a historic game for the city, becoming the last championship game in the landmark building.

"It was fun. It was a lot more exciting than last year because we won," said Barnes, referring to last year's loss to Warren Central in the final.

After last season's experience, the Greyhounds knew what to expect. "We were pretty confident in what we could do," Barnes noted. "We thought we had the experience and we knew they hadn't been there before. We thought that would give us an edge, and it did."

While there are no stats available for offensive linemen, the 6-foot-7, 295-pound Barnes didn't allow a sack and gave just enough push up front to give Carmel the edge. "I played pretty well that game,' he remarked. "They had a good d-line and I think we played pretty well as a whole."

After he enjoys being the toast of the city for a couple of weeks, it will be time for Barnes to buckle down and think about the next phase of his football career. He committed to Louisville in June, and he said he still plans to attend UofL.

"I'm going down there Thursday night for the game against Rutgers," he reported. "Then I'll have my official visit sometime in December." He added that he plans to bring a fairly large contingent to the game, including friends and family.

Coach Brent Myers is Barnes' recruiter, and he said the two have talked about his role on the team next year likely including a redshirt season so he can prepare for life in the trenches at the Division I level.

Despite the Cardinals' 5-6 season, Barnes has confidence in the program's future. "It's been a little rough, but I think they'll be okay," he said.

Barnes said that he has also been hearing from Cincinnati and Illinois recently, but he remains committed to UofL.

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