Even though John Barton is just a high school junior, he has already established a second home.
It's called the end zone.
All Barton did Friday night was set a school record with seven touchdowns in . He has 16 touchdowns in the first five games of the season, well ahead of last year's pace when he finished with 17 touchdowns as a sophomore.
The hard-nosed Barton scored on touchdown runs of six, five, nine, 13, two, five and 21 yards against the Arcs. He finished with 152 yards rushing and added another 108 yards in pass receptions.
For the season, Barton is averaging five yards per carry and 21 yards per reception. He is also a game-changer, returning kicks with a 38-yard average, including a 90-yard return against Lancaster.
"He's a special runing back with all the things he can do," said Tiger head coach Joe Schiavone. "He's always been capable of a game like this. He's got that mindset of a driven competitor."
Barton is quick to credit his teammates for his success.
"The offensive line played their butts off and everything was clicking," said Barton. "Our defense got a lot of key turnovers and everything fell into place. Jalen (Washington) puts the ball right on the money and is a very underrated quarterback."
At 5-9 and 175 pounds, Barton may be flying under the radar when it comes to Division I recruits, but he has drawn the attention of such schools as Duke, Northwestern and West Virginia.
"When teams see our films they know a big part of stopping our offense is stopping number 5," said Schiavone. "Our offensive coaches do a great job of getting him the ball each week."
You could say that Barton is a fast learner. He played soccer up until the eighth grade and scored five touchdowns during a freshman contest against Aurora. Last year, he joined forces with quarterback Aaron Macer (now at Ohio University) to give the Tigers an explosive one-two punch in the backfield.
"We knew John had the speed and athleticism as a freshman," said Schiavone. "We had a two-headed monster when he played with Macer."
Barton is such a competitor he even relishes his role as running back on the scout team each week. "He jumps right in there because he loves the competition," said Schiavone. "He's a quiet leader – if he needs to say something our guys will listen."
Barton feels more comfortable with his role on the team this season after learning the ropes as a sophomore last year.
"The speed of the game has slowed down a lot for me," he says. "I've learned to calm myself down and focus better. I kind of surprised myself last year. It helped that a lot of defenses were keying on Aaron."
When asked if Barton could play defense, Schiavone sighed. "I know that if I put him back there he would have a big impact but we need him on offense. He is a workhorse."
Despite his stature, Barton is one of the strongest players on the team. "He is just as dedicated in the weight room," said Schiavone. "We know what kind of physical specimen he is."
"A lot of people doubt my size," said Barton.
It's safe to say those doubters have never tried to tackle him.