RAMSEUR — A multi-sport high school standout usually has to make some decisions when it comes to the next level. Not only is choosing the right college a major decision, but deciding on which sport to continue at the collegiate level can sometimes be difficult.
For Eastern Randolph High standout Stratton Barwick, he only had to decide which college to attend. Whichever school he selected, he knew he would be playing both football and baseball.
With numerous schools pitching the ability to play both sports collegiately, Barwick decided on Guilford, where he will begin prepping at quarterback for the upcoming football season this fall and then transition to the Quakers’ baseball program in the spring.
“I definitely wanted to play both in college,” said Barwick, who also received offers from schools like Averett, Ferrum and Bridgewater. “The football coach at Guilford said, ‘You play baseball, too?’ They started to come watch me pitch. He said we want you to play baseball, too. I said that sounds good to me.”
Barwick, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, may not look like the prototypical college quarterback. But the success he enjoyed in high school can be equaled by very few.
In his one year of jayvee football and three years as a starting quarterback on the varsity level, he lost just one conference game, that coming when he was a sophomore. His final two years, he led the Wildcats to a 21-3 overall record, including a perfect 10-0 mark in Piedmont Athletic Conference play.
“With his personality and his drive, I wouldn’t sell him short of playing anything,” legendary ER football coach Burton Cates said. “You hear the cliche ‘He’s the first one there and the last one to leave.’ That’s what he’s done at Eastern Randolph. He is the first one there and the last one to leave.”
Barwick admits he may not be what most schools are looking for in a quarterback. But he’s certainly surprised a lot of people with his strong arm, his ability to read defenses and his strength in running the ball and extending plays.
“Everywhere I go, it’s like, you play quarterback?” Barwick said. “And it’s always yes, I do. Then when they watch the film, it’s like you’re actually good at quarterback. Sometimes.”
Of course, playing quarterback for one of the most successful high schools in the state certainly has pressure.
“Some people say you have the hardest job in North Carolina and some say you have the best job in North Carolina,” Barwick said. “When you’re doing good, everyone loves you, and when you’re doing bad, it's all your fault. You have to block it all out and stay even keel.”
Barwick has certainly played a huge role in keeping the strong football tradition alive at ER.
“You get there and winning is a tradition,” he said. “It's printed on the side of our school. We live by it. Live by it in the weight room and in practice and come game time, we live by it, too.”
That demeanor has certainly helped on the baseball field. Although the Wildcats haven’t tasted the same team success as the football program has over the past four years, Barwick gives ER an opportunity to win every time he steps on the mound.
He also hits in the middle of the lineup, giving the Wildcats a power bat.
Barwick said he realizes playing two sports in college won’t be easy.
“They wanted someone to come in and compete and that’s my nature right there,” he said. “I am going to play and do my thing and compete and keep my head on straight and play ball.
“I heard it's tough to do two sports, but I love adversity and know I can handle it.”
Cates does, too.
“He is going to put a great effort into both of them,” Cates said. “He won’t sell either one short.”
He never has.