Veteran coach Carm DePoalo said he is fortunate to have several players on his Schenectady football roster that he can refer to as “example guys.”
One of those guys is Marquize Barmore, a senior center who is just as good at knocking down defenders as he is at knocking out homework assignments.
“He’s a humble kid. He leads by action,” DePoalo said just before the 18-year-old and the rest of the Patriots headed to Larry Mulvaney Field Sunday afternoon for their first practice of the “Fall II” season. “He lifts harder than anyone. The kid hasn’t missed a day of school since the ninth grade.”
Barmore is among Schenectady’s most decorated returning players, who, as a junior after the 2019 season, was named a Section II Class AA first-team all-star and a Daily Gazette All-Area first-team all-star, and landed a spot on the all-state honorable mention list. His accurate center snaps to then-quarterback Seven Terry and pass and run blocking helped Schenectady put together a 6-3 record after the Patriots won one game in each of the two previous seasons.
“Last year was a big year for me, and for the team,” Barmore said. “We’re on the upswing now and more people are looking at us.”
In Barmore, several colleges including St. Lawrence, Alfred and Castleton are looking at an honor roll student with an interest in psychology, and an inspirational athlete who was born without vision in his left eye yet has overcome that adversity to excel on the gridiron.
“Since I was born with it, I’m used to it. I don’t believe it impedes me,” said the 5-foot-11, 260-pound Barmore. “Pre snap I look at everything, and my teammates will sometimes help with, ‘This guy is here or this guy is there.’ It’s not a hindrance at all.”
Barmore has a message for others who face physical challenges.
“Don’t let it deter you,” said Barmore, who is also a member of the Schenectady wrestling team. “Keep on doing what you love and find a way. Work hard and everything will fall into place.”
A lot of things fell the right way for Schenectady in 2019, and while the Patriots capped the regular season with a dramatic win over Bethlehem, they missed out on the Section II Class AA playoffs in a tie-breaking scenario with three other teams.
“I was part of a team that went 1-8, so to go 6-3 was huge even though we missed the playoffs,” Barmore said. “This team is hungry. As seniors we didn’t think this was going to happen, and now that it is, we’re going to leave it all on the field in the next seven weeks.”
While there will be no Section II football tournaments in the “Fall II” season, each of the five leagues will conduct a playoff in the closing weeks and crown a champion. Schenectady is a member of the Class AA Empire Division with Guilderland, Saratoga Springs and Shenendehowa, while Bethlehem, CBA, Colonie and Shaker make up the Class AA Liberty Division.
“I am hoping our experience from last year will carry over some,” DePoalo said.
Barmore is one of the veterans DePoalo will be leaning on to provide leadership in this unique season that came about when “high” risk sports including football were granted the okay to play by state authorities in late January.
“He has started since he was a sophomore. He has been through the ups and downs,” DePoalo said of Barmore. “The kids respect him.”
Barmore will serve as a team captain, a role he also filled during his junior season.
“I am more of an example guy, but if guys need something, I’ll help them. Whether it’s a blocking thing or something else,” he said.
Blocking is something Barmore did awfully well as a junior, which led to all those awards and the college looks.
“Not many people came up the middle on us,” DePoalo said. “And on long snaps he was excellent.”
Schenectady has lettermen in each of its position groups aside from the quarterback spot where junior varsity graduates Nino Robinson and Nik Sanchez will vie for playing time.
“Both of them have my respect,” Barmore said. “Both of them can lead this team.”
Barmore will certainly be doing his part, too.