Baldwin’s Brain earns top marks in starting assignment

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Friday, September 13, 2019 | 6:52 PM


Colton Brain has stepped into a starting role at quarterback for the first time at Baldwin.

The Fighting Highlanders faced Butler at Art Bernardi Stadium in a Week 1 nonconference matchup.

Brain, a junior filling in for an injured Mason Stahl, who is a third-year starter, led the Class 5A Fighting Highlanders to a rousing 42-21 win over the Golden Tornado.

The 5-foot-8, 160-pound Brain was near-perfect, completing seven of eight passes for 121 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

He spread tosses efficiently in Baldwin’s offensive scheme, connecting with Connor Lavelle (three receptions, 41 yards), Jarren Kelly (2-53), Naseer Penn (1-18) and C.J. Lucas (1-9).

As his last name aptly suggests, Colton is whip-smart. He is a straight-A student with a 4.25 GPA and has earned all A’s in high school except for a B in honors geometry as a freshman.

“Colton is very smart,” coach Loran Cooley said. “I thought Colton did an amazing job. He was poised and managed the game extremely well. Our quarterback coach Greg McGhee has done a tremendous job with him.”

Brain, who said science is his favorite subject, threw his first career touchdown on an 18-year completion to Penn with 4 minutes, 6 seconds left in the first quarter.

Brain tacked on a 13-yard score to Lavelle with 7:04 remaining in the second quarter.

The cerebral Baldwin signal caller admitted he was a bit jittery before the game.

“I was a little nervous, but I was mostly excited to compete with my teammates,” Brain said. ”Coach Greg has taught me everything about being a quarterback in every aspect because he brings so much knowledge. He’s a role model for me, and he has really been a great mentor, as well.

“Every coach on the staff has helped me grow as a player and a person.”

Brain, who earned varsity letters in football and baseball as a sophomore, wasn’t the only Baldwin player to enjoy a career-best performance against Butler, a Class 6A team that went 0-10 last year and has not had a winning season since 1997.

Senior running back Angelo Priore rushed for 231 yards on just seven carries and scored four times. Priore motored to Baldwin’s first touchdown on an electrifying 80-yard burst with less than three minutes into the game. He averaged an astounding 34.4 yards per carry.

“I thought we played well,” said Priore, who credited offensive linemen Dorien Ford, Maisen Bourquin, Joe Pracel, Riley Voelker and Michael Cadwallader for providing the brunt of the blocking for him. “I would say the whole line did a great job for the most part.”

Through two contests, the 5-11, 220-pound Priore had accounted for 299 yards on 23 attempts, averaging 13 yards per carry.

“Angelo’s performance (at Butler) was unbelievable but not surprising,” Brain said, “especially with the way our line played. I’ve been playing football with Angelo for a long time, so I definitely know what he’s capable of.”

Give Brain another A in his starting varsity debut at quarterback.

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