Union Local senior Barbina off to torrid start; Jets are undefeated


Belmont Union Local’s Jordan Barbina has had an outstanding year on both sides of the ball.

Belmont Union Local’s Jordan Barbina is enjoying an extraordinary start to the season. The Jets are 3-0 with the three-sport star under center and in the secondary. The 6-foot-2 senior has accounted for 18 touchdowns in a little over
eight quarters of play and has scored on both sides of the ball. Union Local is ranked No. 6 in the Division IV ONN/Ohio High Power Poll.

Belmont Union Local’s Jordan Barbina is enjoying an extraordinary start to the 2008 high school football season.

The three-sport star and his Jet teammates are off to a 3-0 start after last week’s 28-14 triumph of rival St. Clairsville. The senior leads the way from his quarterback position and mans down the secondary at free safety.

The 6-foot-2 standout has accounted for 18 touchdowns in a little over eight quarters of play. Barbina, who led the Jets to the school’s first ever playoff berth a year ago, has nine passing scores, eight via the ground, and one fumble return for a TD.

Union Local is ranked No. 6 in the Division IV ONN/Ohio High Power Poll.

Brabina is on pace to end up with 11 varsity letters at the end of this school year. He will be a four-year starter this winter in basketball and surpassed 1,000-points during last year’s tournament. Barbina, who has started all 64 varsity basketball games during his tenure, averaged 22 points per game a season ago. In baseball he bats leadoff and plays shortstop.

The numbers have been staggering since week three of the 2007 campaign when “The Magician” became the full-time starter at quarterback after splitting time previously. In his first ever playoff game, the intelligent signal caller threw for 321 yards and three scores in a heartbreaking 27-21 loss on the road to Waverly.

This season, it appears Barbina is leaving little doubt that he is setting out not only to win football games, but dominate. Most opposing coaches would concur that is exactly what he has done thus far.

Barbina and his UL teammates have scored 134 points (44.7 points per game). That is incredible considering the starters only played two quarters and one possession in the opener and then just three quarters in the second contest. What’s more, this is all being done with just three returning starters on offense. Barbina is joined by senior tight end Kyle Blackman and senior offensive tackle Bo Olexo as the only returners. The Jets lost two first-team All-Ohioans in speed merchant Zach Gust and middle linebacker Carl Perkins.

Thus far in 2008, Barbina has completed 48-of-80 aerials for 871 yards including nine scores to just three picks. On the ground, Barbina has churned out 315 yards on just 48 carries good for eight trips to pay dirt. He is on pace for close to 3,000 yards passing and over 1,000 yards rushing. Last week, against previously unbeaten St. Clairsville and its stout defense, the Jet field general threw for 253 yards and three TDs on 18-of-32 passing. He also rushed for 92 yards on 23 carries, scooped a fumble and ran it back for 35-yard TD and intercepted a pass late in the game. After selling 50/50 tickets before the game, he found time to make eight tackles. Barbina was named the JJHuddle.com Defensive Player of the Week.

The numbers are mind boggling, but Barbina certainly hasn’t worked alone. The athletic one has found six different receivers through three games. He has two big targets on the outside in 6-4 Kyle Blackman and 6-3 Joby Barr. Both are excellent athletes with very good hands. Blackman, who missed the first game, caught five balls for 115 yards and two scores all in the first half a week ago. Barr also hauled in a six-pointer to seal the win.

The burner, Brandon Nichols, leads the team in receptions and yards. He is capable of turning any play into six. Barbina also likes possession receiver Mark Thompson and junior David Fisher.

The line has also played extremely well with just one returnee (Olexo) from a year ago. The unit is getting better and better each passing week, and has done a decent job of protecting the quarterback thus far.

What the Guru has to say:

Barbina is very crafty. He has well above average speed being clocked in the 40 at 4.45 seconds. He has the athletic build to put on a lot more weight in his coming years. He doesn’t have incredible arm strength, but is very accurate.

The UL signal can make up for a lot of weaknesses by using his uncanny ability to scramble to make plays with his feet or give his receivers time to get open. When the play breaks down is when he is at his best. He is very slippery and doesn’t appear to be running that fast, but his super long strides eat up a lot of yardage and before you know it he is 10 to 15 yards down field. Barbina turns lost plays into first downs as well as anybody I’ve seen in quite a while.

Barbina has been very fortunate to be under the tutelage of head coach Mark Cisar. The UL boss was a two-time Kennedy Award winner (state player of the year) in the state of West Virginia and knows a thing or two on how to be a great quarterback. They are very similar players other than Jordan is a little taller. There is no one better to learn the quarterback position from than the recent OVAC Hall of Fame inductee himself. Barbina has grown leaps and bounds in the past three years as a quarterback especially in his decision making and taking on some of Cisar’s physical and mental toughness. He has always been athletic, but now he is an athletic “quarterback.”

His college decision could go a number of ways. Football, basketball, and baseball are all possibilities. If he chooses football, defensive back or wide receiver (which is probably his natural position) would most likely be his best fit.

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