Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mehlville's Meal Ticket Panthers QB Calls for the Spread - at His House

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mehlville's Meal Ticket Panthers QB Calls for the Spread - at His House

Article excerpt

Darkness had descended Wednesday on the south St. Louis County home of Roy and Joyce Barnette. It was Thanksgiving eve, and holiday chatter wafted like the aroma of roasting turkeys.

Four roasting turkeys.

With a family of four that includes children Jill, 22, and Alan, 18, the Barnettes weren't trying to be gluttons for culinary punishment.

Not even Alan, a quarterback on the Mehlville High football team, could eat four birds.

Roy Barnette explained: "Alan made the comment to (teammate) Sherman Wilderness that if we beat Pattonville, that means we practice on Thanksgiving Day and you can come to my house for turkey."

Wilderness is 6 feet 4 and 325 pounds. Call him anything, but don't call him late for dinner.

When Mehlville pasted Pattonville 30-0 in the state semifinals Saturday, Thanksgiving dinner at the Barnette home became a mandate.

"It's one of those things that happened," the elder Barnette said. "The next thing we knew, it had mushroomed. We're not sure what happened, but Alan said 30 were coming. That's fine. If it supports them, that's good."

Alan Barnette's support, both athletically and spiritually, will be key factors Saturday in Columbia, Mo., when Mehlville (12-1) faces perennial power Jefferson City (12-0) for the Class 5A state championship.

The game is called the Show-Me Bowl, but Barnette has shown character and resilience beyond the achievement of his football team.

Mehlville is in the state championship for the first time. Alan Barnette has been a winner all his life.

"He's a good kid," Roy Barnette said. "We don't have any reservations with him. We don't have to correct him."

Here's why:

At 18, Barnette carries a 4.0 grade-point average.

He is Mehlville's senior class president and ranks No. 1 academically among a class of 435.

Despite missing four games this season because of hepatitis, he is arguably one of the top quarterbacks in the area. Barnette has completed 68 of 136 passes for 1,123 yards and 11 touchdowns, with only one interception.

"I think he's motivated," Roy Barnette said. "When he was 2 or 3, he always had a ball in his hands. I'm not sure if his friends pulled him into sports or if he pulled his friends into sports. …

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