High school football: Steve Barrett's return as coach sparks another Noble rejuvenation
The Bears were successful under Barrett before he became a principal. Now that he's back on the field, Noble is enjoying gridiron success again.
NOBLE — Steve Barrett has done this before.
In his second stint as Noble's head football coach, Barrett — along with a coaching staff that includes some former players — has the Bears on verge of making the playoffs.
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Noble has to beat Shawnee on Friday to earn the fourth and final spot in District 5A-3, clinching its first playoff appearance since 2007.
“It's kind of magical,” senior lineman Chase Mercer said. “My third-grade year, I came and watched them when they went, like, 10-2. It just kind of motivated me.”
Barrett first came to Noble in 2002; the Bears had gone 7-53 during the preceding six seasons, winning two games the year before the former Norman North assistant arrived.
But in Barrett's first season, Noble went 7-4, losing in the first round of the playoffs but also achieving its first winning season since 1995.
The Bears went to the playoffs in each of the three years of his first stint, even winning a district title in 2003.
After the 2004 season, though, Barrett stepped down to become a principal at the school, unable to be both an administrator and coach.
Until 2010, when he took back over, this time bringing in former players who helped him reach the postseason in 2002-04 — the only three-year playoff streak in school history.
Kyle Davidson, Matt Lane and Tyler Solomon now serve as examples that football success is possible at Noble.
“They saw what it takes to move forward,” Barrett said. “I was fortunate to be able to get a hold of those guys and bring them back into the program when I came back. It's obviously helped.”
Barrett started by bringing in Lane, a former running back/safety. In 2011, Davidson, who quarterbacked the 2003 district title team, and Solomon, who played center, joined the staff.
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