Athlete of the week: Gregory's Bartling shakes off early miscue for big gameGREGORY — Friday evening didn’t start perfect for quarterback Jaden Bartling.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
GREGORY — Friday evening didn’t start perfect for quarterback Jaden Bartling.
The Gregory senior was sacked and fumbled on the third play from scrimmage in the Gorillas’ first game of the year Friday, playing South Central in Burke.
“We tried to pass, and some kid hit me from the blindside,” Bartling said. “It wasn’t a great way to open the season or the game.”
After the miscue, Bartling played a huge role in Gregory’s 49-12 win over the Cougars. He was 8-of-9 in passing for 97 yards and had three touchdowns, finished with 61 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground to go along with one sack and four tackles defensively.
For Bartling’s efforts, he has been named The Daily Republic’s athlete of the week, an award that’s voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff.
“The first series didn’t start very well,” Gregory football coach Brian Allmendinger said. “He fumbled and they scooped it and scored. It was the worst possible way to start the game.
“But after that, he did just almost a perfect job taking care of the football, throwing the ball and running the option. He had a tremendous game.”
Bartling’s first touchdown was a 30-yard run at the end of the first quarter to give the Gorillas a 21-6 lead. In the second quarter, the second-year starter threw touchdowns to Gavin Thomas (10 yards), Andrew Taggart (14 yards) and Joe Beck (1 yard).
Being a quarterback on a 9-man football team is enjoyable, Bartling says. He likes being able to be one of the primary ball handlers and a key decision-maker on the team. Last year, Bartling — in his first year starting under center — set a school record for most passing attempts in a season with 99. Besides his quarterback and outside linebacker positions, Bartling is also the team’s punter.
“He’s a real good athlete,” Allmendinger said. “He had an all-around great game (Friday). The thing about him is he can throw it as well as he can run it.”
Gregory lost to eventual 9AA state-champion Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan in the playoffs last year and finished its season 3-6. Bartling says the team was young last year, and he expects to have a stronger season.
“Our goal is to get to the dome,” he said. “ … I really think any team is beatable.”
Gregory (1-0) hosts Colome at 7 p.m. Friday in the Gorillas’ home-opening game this season.