Barlow football coach Rob Tynan calls Jack Shaban a waterbug, and it's an apt description since the sophomore quarterback stands
5-foot-5 and weighs 150 pounds.
Shaban may be small in stature, but he gave Notre Dame of Fairfield fits Saturday, rushing for 150 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries, as the Falcons pulled away to defeat the Lancers 41-14 in Fairfield.
"Even for a little kid, he was running hard," Tynan said. "The biggest thing with a young kid like that is you can't be afraid. When you're running option football, you can't be afraid and he wasn't. He proved it today. I'm going to go give him a kiss."
Tynan started junior Cooper Brown at quarterback, but decided to make a switch after the Falcons' first two drives ended with a three-and-out and interception. Brown also was nursing an injury from last week.
Shaban led Barlow (1-1) to touchdowns on its next four possessions, even setting up one score with a 67-yard kickoff return after the Lancers tied the contest 14-14. Barlow surged to a 28-14 halftime lead and never looked back.
"(Shaban) was making the reads and he was running inside," Notre Dame coach Rico Brogna said. "He did a great job. Basically, in the second quarter, he was the big reason they got out in front of us like they did."
Things started promisingly for Notre Dame, which had success moving the ball early, although the Lancers' first drive ended with an interception on the goal line by Shaban, who returned it 50 yards.
Still, the Lancers (0-2) forced the Falcons to turn the ball over on downs and grabbed an 8-0 lead on Daquan Coleman's 42-yard TD pass to Glody Tumba with 2:55 left in the first quarter.
Shaban entered on the Falcons' third possession, and his 32-yard keeper set up Joshua Tunick's 14-yard TD scamper that pulled Barlow within 8-7 with 10:37 left in the first half.
"Coach (Matt) Stragazzi said at the beginning of the game that we were going to switch quarterbacks a couple series in," Shaban said. "I didn't think I would play that much, but I got in."
A mishandled punt on Notre Dame next possession set up the Falcons at the Lancers' 22, and Shaban ripped off runs of 17 and five yards to put Barlow ahead, 14-8.
Notre Dame answered, tying the contest on Nigel Beckford's 7-yard TD run with 4:57 left in the first half.
"Their depth really hurts them," Tynan said, "but they have some really good skilled kids over there. You can't take that away from them. The quarterback (Coleman) and Nigel, they're good football players. They're tough to tackle and they showed it."
Beckford rushed for 102 hard yards on 23 carries and Coleman, who missed some time in the second half after suffering a cramp, added 91 yards on 13 attempts.
But the Lancers were beat up physically and ended the game with only nine healthy bodies on the bench.
"Our numbers are low but we're not making any excuses," Brogna said. "Barlow's a heck of a football team. They execute very well, they've been doing the same stuff for a long time. They're very well-coached.
"You get a warm day, there's not enough water in the lake nearby. At the same time, the kids fought to the end. They tried to stay real hydrated and gave a great effort. We still executed some things well, made some plays, but Barlow was the better team today."
The Falcons continued to rely heavily on the run, as the only pass they completed in the entire game was a 2-yard completion off a faked punt.
Shaban's 1-yard TD run put the Falcons back ahead with 3:39 left in the half and he tacked on a 4-yard scoring run with 36 seconds remaining.
"They didn't have a lot of guys, so I expect they got a little tired," Shaban said. "We just grind and pound over and over again. I think they got a little fatigued."
Shaban added his fourth touchdown on a 2-yard scamper in the third quarter before the Falcons completed the scoring on Steven Miller's 33-yard TD romp with just over two minutes remaining.