By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WOODSTOCK -- Sam Barbour has waited patiently for his time, and this season he will lead a young Central squad onto the field.
The Central senior has been the backup quarterback for the last two years, but this season he will be the starter.
Central lost 21 seniors, but Barbour said he believes this year's team is ready to step up.
"It's a completely different experience this year," Barbour said. "We've always had older kids as the leaders. Obviously no one on this year's team saw the field too much [last year], but one thing about having that talented group above us is we learned a lot. Although we didn't play, we found out what it feels like to have success and to have a good season. So now that we're all playing we're able to transfer that into this year."
Barbour was able to learn from three-year starter Hayden Bauserman, who graduated in June and will play at Alderson-Broaddus College this season.
Barbour said it was a good experience playing behind Bauserman the last two years.
"He's definitely always been there for me, including this year," Barbour said. "He's been to some of the practices and just gives little pointers. Obviously, he's had success here and he's going to play in college so I really take what he says and I've watched him for the past two years. I've really learned the mechanics, poise just from watching him."
Barbour said he has pretty much always played at quarterback from the time he was in Little League, and he enjoys the leadership role that comes with and also being able to touch the ball on every play.
He said he tries to learn from watching it on TV, especially his favorite player Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
"I look up to RG3 -- his leadership skills," Barbour said. "That's where I want to be as a leader, just like he does. He came into a not so great situation, I guess you could say like we're doing, and trying to turn it around. Keeping the positive energy going, that's what we're trying to do here."
Central coach Mike Yew said he's been very happy with he's seen in the preseason from Barbour.
"He's just doing everything we've asked of him so far," Yew said. "He's in really good shape. He's throwing the ball better now than I really thought he was going to throw the ball this year. And I'm really pleased with how well he is throwing the ball. Which just goes to show that he's worked on it, and it's something he's trying to embrace his senior year."
Barbour said one of his goals is to be more accurate with his throws. He's also had to learn a little different offense, as the Falcons have switched to a pistol formation, but Barbour said it's been pretty easy to pick it up.
Barbour also plays basketball and tennis, and said the other sports help him stay in shape for football.
"With the other sports you play, you're always working on footwork, you're working on conditioning," Barbour said. "You're getting in better shape, which in football being in shape is everything."
Central lost starters at almost every position to graduation, and the Falcons have a very young, inexperienced team this season. Last year Central went 10-3, losing in the third round of the Group 3A playoffs. The Falcons have been one of the last eight teams in their class the last two years.
Even with such a young team, Barbour said he's excited about what the Falcons can do this season.
"Everybody's stepping up, obviously a lot of kids left," Barbour said. "It's kind of weird that everybody comes back with such high energy and high hopes. But it's just awesome. Every practice so far has gone smooth, some a little better than others. Everybody's listening and everybody wants to learn. It's going great."
Now that it's his senior year, Barbour said he wants to make the most of the time he has left at Central.
"The day before practice started I was lifting and just kind of walking out, checking out the field, and that was exactly the moment when it hit me this is the last year I'll play football," Barbour said. "I really hadn't been able to think about that moment the past two years. I haven't been playing, so it hasn't really set in. So now you realize that it's all on your shoulders, it definitely sets in.
"I want to enjoy every second of it."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd