Barry Brown does it all for Academy Park football team
The versatile senior, in his first varsity season as a quarterback, has led the Knights to a 7-1 record and the brink of a Del-Val League title.
Barry Brown is Academy Park High’s best punter.
He also is the Knights’ best long snapper.
Brown is fast, but not quite quick enough to handle both those duties on the same play.
He’s a pitcher and a catcher on the baseball team. He plays basketball, too.
In football, Brown is the Knights’ dynamic dual-threat quarterback, a runner and passer on pace to generate 1,200 yards on the ground and another 1,200 through the air.
He also was a top receiver as a sophomore and junior.
“We call him ‘Bugs Bunny’ because he can do everything,” Academy Park football coach Jason Vosheski said. “He’s just a fantastic all-around player.”
Playing quarterback this season for the first time in his varsity career, the 6-foot-1, 165-pound Brown has led Academy Park to a 7-1 overall record, including a 3-0 mark in the Delaware Valley League.
The Knights can clinch their first Del-Val title since 2015 and strengthen their position as a high seed in the PIAA District 1 Class 5A playoffs with a victory over Chester on Saturday morning.
“We were good last year, and I feel like we can be even better this year,” said Brown, who was a standout receiver for an Academy Park team that went 9-3 in 2018.
Brown played some quarterback for the Sharon Hill Ramblers youth organization and was Academy Park’s freshman-team quarterback in 2016. But he was a receiver for the Knights as a sophomore and junior.
“We had to get him on the field,” Vosheski said.
Brown has flourished in his first season as a varsity quarterback. He has completed 55 of 100 passes for 832 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed 89 times for 798 yards and 10 more scores.
“I like being a dual threat, but I do like passing the ball,” Brown said before an Academy Park practice this week. “It’s not only me getting an opportunity to shine.”
Vosheski said Brown’s athletic ability has helped smooth the switch to quarterback. But it has been something more than speed or skill that has most impressed the coach.
“It’s been his toughness,” Vosheski said. “He’s the fastest kid on the team. He’s pretty much the fastest kid on the field every game we play.
“But what we didn’t know for sure was how he tough would he be as far as the amount of hits he has to take.”
Brown said there were times early in the season when he wasn’t sure if playing quarterback was right for him.
“There were days at practice when I would be like, ‘Wish I was still at receiver,’ ” Brown said. “It has had its rough moments. I knew all eyes would be on me.
“But it’s gotten better and better.”
In the latest rankings by pennlive.com, Academy Park is the No. 2 team in the state in Class 5A, behind only District 7’s Penn-Trafford. But Vosheski knows the Knights face a series of challenges in the District 1 playoffs, with teams such as Cheltenham, West Chester East, West Chester Rustin, Penn Wood, Marple Newtown, Kennett, and Strath Haven, among others, looming as legitimate threats.
One advantage for the Knights is that they likely have the only signal-caller who also is a top punter, long snapper, wide receiver, baseball catcher and pitcher, and basketball player, who seems to be getting better every week at his new position of quarterback.
“There are moments when you can see he’s still learning,” Vosheski said. “But there are other moments when you watch him and you say, ‘Wow, that’s incredible.’ ”