BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – As the 2016-2017 school year was coming to a close, Kokomo High School senior DaShaun Barbary had a decision to make – what sport would he chose to play in college. In the end, the three-sport Wildkat standout chose to continue his football career at NCAA Division III Trine University.
Barbary, who also played baseball and wrestled, said he immediately liked Thunder head coach Troy Abbs.
“I really like the coach and the facilities are good,” said Barbary, noting he first met the head coach during a visit to KHS. “He visited during one of the school days and we just talked. I want to make a serious impact my first year; he gave us a (summer) workout paper and we will do a fitness test during the school year.”
Barbary is a defensive specialist who also played limited offense. During his senior season, in which he only played in eight games due to an injury, he recorded 28 tackles (13 solo), had one sack and 3.5 tackles for a loss. He also ran the ball for one touchdown and 198 total yards.
“I grew the most from my freshman to sophomore year. I felt tougher and better as a player – I just grew a lot more,” said Barbary, who plans to study pre-physical therapy. “My junior year stood out because we went the farthest. It was really a family. It was a lot of fun. We had a lot of team activities and that really helped with our success. Winning the regional in football was pretty cool.”
During that magical junior season, the Wildkats won the North Central Conference with a perfect regular season. In tournament play, Kokomo captured its second-ever sectional championship and first-ever regional title. They finished with a school record 12 wins and Barbary was named Defensive MVP. He recorded 101 tackles (36 were solo), five sacks and 15 tackles for a loss.
On the wrestling mat, Barbary won more than 71-percent of his matches in a four-year varsity career that included 133 victories. He earned three trips to the semi-state and was the 2016 Oak Hill Sectional champ at 170-pounds and garnered a pair of regional runner-up finishes.
Barbary also excelled at baseball, and when asked what his favorite sport was, he exclaimed, “It depends on what season it is.” He played in 22 games his senior season, helping lead Kokomo to a 21-4 record. He hit .328 (19 for 66) with 17 runs scored, 10 RBIs and seven stolen bases. This summer, he is playing for the Kokomo American Legion Post 6 squad.
But despite the lofty statistics in baseball and wrestling, Barbary’s love is football – and he will be throwing the opponents to the turf for the Thunder of Trine this fall on gridirons across the Midwest.