Athlete of the Week: Gregory's Jaden Bartling stepping up as first-year quarterbackJaden Bartling said he had one of the best games he has had in a long time Friday.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
Jaden Bartling said he had one of the best games he has had in a long time Friday.
Maybe his best-ever game came at just the right time, too.
On Friday, Gregory, which is fighting for a playoff spot in Class 9AA, beat Scotland 47-20 in the Gorillas’ homecoming game.
Bartling played a big role in the victory. The junior quarterback scored five touchdowns in the game — three on the ground, one passing and one on a punt return — and had 178 yards rushing and threw for 66 yards on 4-of-8 passing.
“He’s kind of done that all year for us,” said Gregory coach Brian Allmendinger of Bartling’s performance Friday. “We lost a pretty good quarterback, Mat Braun, who was an all-state quarterback, and Jaden has really stepped up this year in terms of running the offense.
“He is just a great all-around kid with great determination and work ethic. You want a whole team full of kids like him.”
But Bartling was quick to acknowledge that he has had help in learning how to run Gregory’s offense.
“The coaches taught me a lot, and I learned a lot of stuff from Mat, too,” he said.
Gregory came into Friday’s game with a 1-4 record and 42 power points. The Gorillas were missing out on the last wild-card spot by two spots with three games to go heading into Friday’s matchup.
“That was a huge game for the team,” Allmendinger said of the win.
The Gorillas are 2-4 on the year, but the updated power points have not been released yet.
Gregory runs two different offenses. One is the option offense and Allmendinger has also implemented the spread offense. Bartling said it is a little different offense than last year.
Allmendinger said Bartling has done a great job of running both offenses.
“He throws a great ball and allows us to balance things up,” he said. “The thing he has improved on is when to tuck the ball and run with it. The offense is designed for the quarterback to be successful, and he is making the most out of that.
“A lot of his runs that he has are off a pass call where he makes a good decision to pull the ball down and run with it if the receiver is covered.”
Bartling would like to make a small tweak to the offense, though.
“I actually would like to drop back and pass the ball a little bit more,” he said. “But with our offense, it’s been working with the option a little more.”
Gregory plays at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Andes Central.
— Travis Mester contributed to this report