A FEEL-GOOD STORY

Off­sea­son health scare can’t slow Mount Carmel line­man Bar­bosa

Daily Southtown - - SPORTS - By Pat Dis­abato pdis­abato@tribpub.com Twit­ter @dis­abato

Do­minic Bar­bosa brushed off the headaches he was suf­fer­ing dur­ing last sea­son’s play­offs.

The two-way line­man for Mount Carmel be­lieved the pain was a re­sult of a pos­si­ble con­cus­sion. So he played on, never telling the coach­ing staff.

“I wanted to play, so I didn’t say any­thing and tried to block out the pain,” Bar­bosa said. “I don’t know how I did it, but I did.”

It was dis­cov­ered that the pain had noth­ing to do with a con­cus­sion.

“I was sick dur­ing Christ­mas and, at first, the doc­tors thought I had menin­gi­tis,” the 6-foot, 280pound Bar­bosa said. “They took an MRI and found out I had a blood clot on my brain. They rushed me to surgery.”

The surgery — a cran­iotomy to re­move a sub­du­ral haematoma — was on Dec. 29. When he woke up in the hospi­tal later that day with 64 staples in his head, he ca­su­ally looked up at the tele­vi­sion and saw Jor­dan Lynch’s face.

“They were an­nounc­ing on the news that Jor­dan was the new coach,” Bar­bosa said. “I thought I was dream­ing.”

The Twi­light Zone mo­ment con­tin­ued when he learned that one of his nurses at the hospi­tal was Lynch’s brother-in-law.

“That was the cra­zi­est thing,” Bar­bosa said.

Want to know what’s cra­zier? Bar­bosa re­turned to the field this sea­son and hasn’t missed a prac­tice or game. In fact, he didn’t miss a snap on of­fense or de­fense dur­ing Mount Carmel’s Class 7A sec­ond-round win over Lake Zurich.

“He played 162 snaps,” Lynch said. “His will to win is just in­cred­i­ble. He’s all about be­ing there for his broth­ers. For him to play this year is remarkable.”

Bar­bosa started the sea­son on the de­fen­sive line. When a need arose in Week 5 on the of­fen­sive line, Bar­bosa jumped at the chance to go two ways. He’ll con­tinue to do so when the Car­a­van (10-1) meet East St. Louis (9-2) in a 7A quar­ter­fi­nal at 5 p.m. Satur­day at Gately Sta­dium.

Bar­bosa’s ef­forts re­sulted in him be­ing named the Catholic Green Co-De­fen­sive Player of the Year.

The award car­ries even more sig­nif­i­cance con­sid­er­ing all he’s gone through.

“I’m blessed to be alive,” he said. “The doc­tors said if I would have waited an­other month I might not be here. The suc­cess of the team and win­ning this award means ev­ery­thing to me.”

Quar­ter­back shuf­fle: Home­wood-Floss­moor (10-1) has re­lied on two quar­ter­backs to reach the Class 8A quar­ter­fi­nals, and that pat­tern likely will be the case again at 1 p.m. Satur­day against vis­it­ing Marist (10-1).

Se­nior Cameron Wright and ju­nior Do­minick Jones have shared the spot­light at quar­ter­back most of the sea­son, al­ter­nat­ing se­ries and, at times, snaps.

Coach Craig Buzea has a good rea­son for im­ple­ment­ing the shuf­fle.

“Go­ing back to the sum­mer, both of them played pretty well,” Buzea said. “Nei­ther one took con­trol to be the one starter. So we said, ‘Let’s play both of them.’”

Buzea said there’s no spe­cific rea­son why one quar­ter­back will start a game, quar­ter or se­ries.

“It’s just a gut feel­ing,” he said. “If we have a re­ally good re­turn on a kick­off, I might choose to go with one guy over the other. It’s a play-by-play sit­u­a­tion.”

Buzea cau­tioned a pass­ing or run­ning down does not dic­tate which quar­ter­back leads the no­hud­dle at­tack.

“Nei­ther kid knows who is go­ing to be told to go out there,” Buzea said. “I don’t know ei­ther un­til right be­fore the play. It’s not like we have sep­a­rate pack­ages for them. They both run the ball and pass the ball ef­fec­tively. The de­ci­sion is very ar­bi­trary.”

Did you know: Brother Rice grad­u­ate Xaza­vian Val­la­day is av­er­ag­ing 4.0 yards per carry for Wy­oming. The 6-foot, 191-pound red­shirt fresh­man has 181 yards on 45 car­ries in 10 games.

GARY MIDDENDORF/DAILY SOUTHTOWN

Mount Carmel’s Do­minic Bar­bosa (68) is start­ing on both sides of the line 11 months af­ter hav­ing blood clot re­moved from his brain.

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