Phoebus junior Barry Hargraves, a 6-foot, 190-pound wide receiver and kick returner for the Phantoms, put on a performance worthy of the Daily Press football Player of the Week in a 25-7 win at Lake Taylor last Friday.
Player of the Week credentials: Hargraves led his team with 161 yards on four catches, including a 90-yard touchdown reception. He also scored a touchdown on an 80-yard kickoff return.
Daily Press: So we know the statistics, but give me your own impression. What did you think of your performance against the Titans?
Barry Hargraves: I felt like I executed really well. I tried to take every opportunity to the house, and out of the five chances I had with the ball, I took two to the house.
DP: Lake Taylor took a 7-0 lead, but then you fielded the ensuing kickoff and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. How did it feel to respond so quickly and tie the game?
BH: It felt really good. When they scored, I wanted to give my team an opportunity for us to gain momentum back, and that’s what I did on the kickoff return.
I just try to find open space, and that’s what I did. I just try to find the right seam. On that return, there was no seam at first, so I had to turn around to the left. Then I finally found open space and took it to the house.
DP: You followed up soon after that with a 90-yard touchdown catch to put your team up 14-7. The Titans never scored again, so that stood as the game-winning catch. What did you see on that play?
BH: When I went in motion, my defender went inside with me, and then when I went out for my route, he was over top, so I tried to accelerate past him, and I just beat him to the ball.
DP: When you made the catch, you had several steps on the defender, but he caught up with you and it looked like you might get stuck. When did you realize you were going to score on that play?
BH: When I broke that final tackle near the 35, I knew I was going to make it to the end zone. I was getting tired, so I just tried to take the right angle to score, and I did.
DP: Lake Taylor came into the game 3-1. Like Phoebus in Class 3, the Titans are routinely in the mix for a state championship in Class 4. So this game offered a test of where you stood in the state. What was your team’s mindset going in?
BH: It was our mindset to dominate and to take every chance that we could to take the ball to the house. Even though some opportunities we left on the field, I think that’s what we did.
DP: You came out with a win and with a 5-0 record. Does being undefeated at the midway point of your season mean anything to you and your teammates?
BH: It means a lot, but we really don’t focus on that. We try to take every day as it comes, every week as it comes, and just try to get better every day. We try to focus on our game plan and each individual practice, and then we try to take it into each game and try to execute.
We just try to take it day by day, week by week and just try to make it all the way to (the state championship on) Dec. 9. But we can’t focus on that right now. We’ve got to focus on our next game.
Did you know? Phoebus has made it through the first six games of the season undefeated in each of the last two years. In each season, the Phantoms’ first loss came against Hampton in their seventh game.
Yanchulis can be reached by phone at 757-298-5176. Follow her on Twitter @KYanchulis.