Mutiny’s talent anything but low profile

MANASSAS Everyone has a theory, but few have the correct answer. It has been a question that has stumped teenagers for generations and only those in the loop know the true answer.

Anyone who has sat through a boring lecture or fought through a tedious homework assignment had to wonder: What do teachers actually do once school is over?

Guesses would have to include grading papers, reading scholastic journal reports and thinking of ways to torture students, but in the case of Osbourn Park special education teacher Geoff Barnwell, it’s different. He likes to suit up at defensive tackle for the Virginia Mutiny, in part to relive his youth and to fuel his competitive spirit.

“A few of [my students] know,” Barnwell said. “I like to keep it low-key. Keep kind of a low profile about it.”

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Barnwell was on the football team at the University of Hawaii from 1991-93, including the 1992 team that beat Illinois in the Holiday Bowl. He still wears a bright green Rainbow jersey to practice and is part of the Mutiny’s outstanding defense.

“We just try to be aggressive,” said Barnwell, who was first-team all-conference in the Mason-Dixon Football League last year. “We are really solid on defense and maybe a little weak on offense. Offenses usually struggle in this league because they have to be in sync. On defense you can just go out and play, while the offense actually has to prepare a little, plus offense takes brains.”

Last year, the Mutiny went 9-3 and lost to the Virginia Storm in the first round of the playoffs. The Mutiny also lost in the first round of the playoffs the year before, but would like to advance further this season.

“You always try to go further then you went the year before,” Mutiny head coach Jeff Lascola said.

The defense returns almost intact from last season. Barnwell is joined by Osbourn grad Jon Grandberry (honorable mention all-conference) on the defensive line as well as Mitchell Freedman, who plays defensive end and also can play linebacker or in the defensive secondary.

The Mutiny like to run the ball out of their pro-set offense. Running back Raymond Gee finished third the league in rushing last year and fullback Mark Hodge finished sixth.

The Mutiny finished second last year and should only improve with the addition of Calvin Bailey, who finished eighth in the league in rushing last year with West Virginia.

“We are usually pretty successful running the ball,” Lascola said. “Raymond is the star, but the other guys are also very important. The passing game was our problem last year. People would put nine men in the box against our running game. We’ve spent a lot of time working on our passing game so people can’t do that.”

Lascola is having an open quarterback competition between Steve Moss, Nate Jamison, Troy Eldridge.

“Nate is going to be our guy for this week, but that can change at anytime,” Lascola said. “Nate and Steve are really close so we are just going to see who does the best.”

Whoever is under center for the Mutiny will be trying to get the ball to receiver Lucius Perry. Last year, Perry was named first-team all-conference at wide receiver and was the offensive and defensive MVP in the Mason-Dixon all-star game.

The Mutiny, though, will be without strong safety Johnny Jones for at least the beginning of the season. Lascola said Jones is getting a tryout with the Baltimore Ravens and might be invited to the team’s training camp.

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