Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 15, 2013

Barker key to improved Bluefield defensive unit

By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — At 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Daniel Barker is a dynamo for the Bluefield Beavers defense. The senior linebacker has been a major cog all season long, helping lead the team to an 8-2 record and a No. 3 seed in the Class AA playoffs which begin this weekend throughout the Mountain State.

Last Friday night his fumble recovery and return for a touchdown against No. 1 Wayne, helped keep the Beavers in the ball game and provided a spark for the then No. 1 Bluefield squad.

“I was coming off the edge and they had fumbled it and (Brandon) Lilly and Dakoda (Smalls) hit him in the backfield and he fumbled it,” Barker said. “I picked it up and I scored.”

It was Barker’s first touchdown since his middle school days when he played at Montcalm. He also played his freshman year for the Generals before his family moved and he transferred to Bluefield.

While Barker has played offense on occasion, he prefers the defensive side of the ball.

“Every time we get a big hit everybody gets real hyped and we start doing a lot better,” Barker said. “I think we have a really good defense, we’ve really put it together this year. There’s a bond between us, we’re like all brothers, we’re really close.”

Bluefield head coach Fred Simon said Barker epitomizes the hard work and dedication needed to be a successful football player.

“Pound for pound he’s given as much effort as anybody we’ve got. That is what makes football a neat little sport. It’s not always the biggest kid, but it’s the kid that just has the heart and the last few weeks he has really shown some heart,” Simon said.

“He just does his job and tries to the best of his ability to do his job. That’s what makes him a good football player — good and steady and just does his job. That’s all we want out of any of our players, do the job. He’s definitely done his job.”

Barker and the Beavers are preparing for their first game in the West Virginia Class AA playoffs against the Ravenswood Red Devils, who invade Mitchell Stadium for a Saturday night contest.

Barker talked about the atmosphere surrounding the team as postseason play approaches.

“We are very serious right now. We try to make every practice count so we can go out and get the ‘W.’ We have to stay focused,” Barker said. “We’ve been repping our keys and stuff, making sure we know what to do and if they would like to run a counter or something, we’ll be ready for it.”

The son of Kevin and Crystal Barker, Daniel hopes to attend either Marshall or Concord University and obtain a degree in criminal justice. He is one of four children. He has two sisters, Candace and Abigail and a 10-year old brother Patrick, who has dabbled in football.

Barker and the No. 3 rated Beavers kick off against the No. 14 Ravenswood Red Devils, at 7:30, Saturday night at Mitchell Stadium. The winner of the game advances to play the winner between Wyoming East and Nicholas County next weekend in the quarterfinals.

— Contact Bob Redd at

bredd@bdtonline.com