Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Press photo by Linda RothrockAli Barkley is having a good season but thinks he can be better to help the Zephs find their first victory this year. Press photo by Linda RothrockAli Barkley is having a good season but thinks he can be better to help the Zephs find their first victory this year.

Barkley looks to lead by example

Thursday, September 26, 2019 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

It hasn’t been the season Ali Barkley expected.

Heading into Friday’s game, the Zephyrs have a 0-5 record after their 49-26 loss to Freedom last week in a game that they battled back after a 42-0 deficit.

“We’re not playing to our potential,” said Barkley. “We just have to do what the right thing is to do.

“We have been in games, but we have been up and down in those games. We just haven’t been able to put it together.”

Barkley, a senior, has 496 yards on 85 carries, averaging nearly five yards a carry. He has scored six touchdowns and has been among the area’s leading rushers.

He also has caught nine passes for 44 yards with a touchdown.

“He’s doing what he does best,” said Whitehall head coach Matt Senneca. “He’s a big part of our offense and can have a good finish to his year.”

Still, Barkley isn’t totally satisfied with his performance.

“I think I have been doing pretty good,” he added. “But I know I can do better. I just have to keep working hard and do whatever I can to help this team.”

Barkley sees himself in a leadership role, one that his role can differ from a typical one.

“I thought I needed to step up a be a leader,” he said. “But I am not a big vocal leader. That’s not me. I’m not a big talker and I want to lead by example. I want to help some of the younger players along.”

With a full season behind him before this year, Barkley felt more confident.

“I really feel more comfortable than last year,” he said. “I can see the field and hit the holes better.

“We all worked very hard in the offseason in the weight room. I really feel a lot stronger this season.”

Like everyone else, Barkley is eager for his team to pick up their first win.

They have their sights set on Bethlehem Catholic (3-2) Saturday afternoon. The Golden Hawks are coming off a 27-13 loss to undefeated Nazareth.

From there, things don’t get any easier. Whitehall has Parkland, Nazareth, Liberty and their Cement Belt clash with Northampton left on their schedule.

“We really need to get a win,” added Barkley. “We just have to keep pushing each other. If we stay our course, we’ll be OK.”