Braves’ Barren was a model of consistency during his career
Jake Barren has been a model of consistency throughout his high school career at Bonner Springs, and that is why he earned the honor of BSHS boys athlete of the year in 2009-10.
He played football, wrestled and threw the discus and shot put on the track team during his four-year career.
He was flanked during his career by his twin brother Max, however, it was easy to tell the two apart. Jake is bigger and taller with short cropped hair and is usually sporting sunglasses. Max is a shorter version of the two, but is distinguished by his lion’s mane-style braids. Max also was a candidate for the award, but Jake edged him out.
The two were inseparable, especially on the football field where their skills complemented each other, Max as a running back and Jake as his lead blocker.
Head football coach and assistant track coach Lew Kasselman has the utmost respect for both of the Barren boys and said it had to be a tough decision because both were obvious choices, however, one had to win.
“You just can’t replace (Jake and Max),” Kasselman said. “Hopefully the younger guys learned from them about how to carry themselves. No matter what sport he was in or what school activity he was in, Jake was a perfect model. You couldn’t ask for anybody better to win the award.”
In the end Jake was the choice.
“It was a great honor, and Max clapped for me when I got it. We support each other,” Jake said. “A lot of the guys that have won it in the past are really great athletes, so it’s really great to be grouped in with them. It means a lot to me. I feel I left my mark.”
Barren had a tough season on the football field for the Braves. The team struggled to get victories, but he undoubtedly left everything he had on the field each game. As a defensive and offensive lineman, he was in the middle of the action on nearly every snap of the season.
“You can’t always pick your record in sports, especially football,” Barren said. “I am proud that I can say that I did all I could every time out. I’m proud of that.”
There were times when he lined up as a running back in the power-I set around the goal line.
Against Highland Park this season — in the first game of district play — the Braves trailed by one point with time winding down when he was handed the ball to plunge in for the winning score.
“I wanted the ball,” Barren said. “At that point Max had taken a beating. He was battered and needed a break. He deserved the score, but he needed the rest. I was glad I was able to get it in.”