Quarterback Stratton Barwick of Eastern Randolph bulls his way for a touchdown against Walkertown earlier this season. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)
RAMSEUR – The thought of the quarterback for Eastern Randolph’s wildly successful football team being the big man on campus wasn’t a grand idea for veteran coach Burton Cates.
He put Stratton Barwick on a diet.
Now a bit swifter, Barwick hopes to put the Wildcats on the fast track again this year.
Listed at 6-foot-1, Barwick is down to about 235 pounds after playing the 2021 season at 250.
“He has gotten a step quicker,” Cates said.
This weight trimming didn’t happen by accident.
“He had to lose some,” Cates said. “I weighed him in every Monday morning. I’d say, ‘Good weekend or bad weekend?’ If it was a bad weekend, he’d say, ‘Can I work out, and then you weigh me?’”
Sometimes, Barwick arrived to begin another week of school, knowing he needed to cut a little more to reach that next goal.
“I’d let him make me go run a bit,” Barwick said.
He worked on speed drills last winter. By the summer, the senior said the rewards of the weight reduction were clear.
“Once I started losing some weight, I started feeling a lot better,” Barwick said.
He said he drinks more water and started cutting down on soda consumption. Self-described as “a really picky eater,” he said he developed a plan.
“I put it in my mind that I definitely wanted to do something about it,” Barwick said.
Earlier in his career, Barwick made an impact at another position. As a freshman, he was a starter at defensive tackle in a state-playoff game.
He’s also a key member of Eastern Randolph’s baseball program as a left-handed pitcher, first baseman, and left fielder.
But football seems to be where he’s leaving his biggest mark. While he might still blend in with some of his offensive linemen, he knows his role.
Barwick, a three-year starting quarterback, threw for 39 touchdowns last season when the Wildcats went undefeated in the regular season and advanced to the third round of the Class 1-A state playoffs.
He’s a nice piece of the offensive puzzle for the Wildcats to build around.
“He’s definitely got the experience,” Cates said.
Eastern Randolph (3-1) plays its final non-conference game Friday night at West Stanly. Then the Wildcats embark on a five-week quest to repeat as Piedmont Athletic Conference champions.