The North squad, coached by Cartersville head coach Frank Barden and defensive coordinator Rusty Grimmett, defeated the South team by a score of 27-7 thanks to the efforts of wide receiver T.L. Ford, defensive back Mark Quattlebaum and offensive MVP Brooks Barden.
“It was fun to be on the field with them that weekend in that last game,” Frank Barden said.
“I would say it’s right up there at the top. It’s a pretty big honor,” Brooks said of being named offensive MVP of the game and where it ranks among his career accolades. “It’s the oldest all-star game in the country. It’s a big all-star game, so I would say it’s up there at the top.”
The GACA Senior All-Star Game is the oldest high school all-star game in the country and features several players committed to Division I programs.
Even with all the talent on the field, Brooks Barden was named the game’s most valuable player after going 5 for 7 for 66 yards and a touchdown in the winning effort. He shared time with another quarterback in the game, Tanner Brumby of Pickens, but played primarily in the first and third quarters.
His touchdown pass was a 19-yard pitch-and-catch to Ford in the third quarter to put the North team up by two scores.
Brooks Barden hit Ford in the end zone on a perfectly thrown pass between two defenders.
“It was something we’ve been able to work on our whole high school careers and it was fun to get a touchdown thrown to him in our last game,” Brooks Barden said.
The pair had connected for touchdowns 18 times in the past two seasons while playing together for Cartersville.
Ford had two catches for 57 yards Monday to make him the second-leading receiver in the game.
Ford is committed to Kansas State next season while Barden and Quattlebaum will be playing for UNC-Charlotte.
Brooks Barden was the only quarterback to complete more than half of his passes as the other three quarterbacks in the game went a combined 10-for-37 with three interceptions.
“I mean, that’s kind of what he does. He’s just got a good understanding of the game and knows where to go with the ball,” Frank Barden said of Brooks. “He really played well. His touchdown pass was to T.L. so that was fun that they got to hook up again.”
The South squad only accounted for 149 yards of total offense.
“We had gathered some really, really good players. Our defensive backs were good. Our linebackers were good, so of course defensively we were really good,” Frank Barden said. “ Defensively, Chuck Goddard did the defense from East Paulding and of course [Rusty] Grimmett helped him from our staff.”
On the other hand, the North team had 272 yards of offense, including a 56-yard touchdown pass from Monroe Area wide receiver Michael Gallup to Arabia Mountain’s Greg Phillips on a trick play for the game’s first score.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter, before Brooks Barden and Ford’s touchdown put some separation between the North and South less than four minutes into the second half.
Two field goals from St. Pius’ Thomas O’Leary of 32 and 24 yards iced the game for the North squad.
“It was fun. It was fun to be on the field one last time for Brooks,” Frank Barden said. “There were a lot of really good players and it was a really good weekend.”