HOBART | Barras and quarterback in Hobart is like Jackson and singer in Gary. They seem to always be in the same sentence.
There is a history in these connections.
Hobart senior quarterback Andrew Barras is in his third year starting at the most important position in football. His brother, Matt Barras, started for two years behind center before graduating in 2009.
Matt played in the last game at Brickie Bowl in 2008.
Andrew will play tonight in the last regular-season game between the Brickies and Griffith on natural grass.
"It's pretty cool," Barras said. "It's historic."
Griffith will get an artificial surface field after this season. Does anyone remember the Mud Bowl in 1995? This will be the last time weather will alter the playing surface between these two blue-collar teams.
"I prefer playing on grass," Barras said. "It's more traditional, more real football."
Hobart is 2-0 after big wins over West Side and LaPorte. Barras is 19-of-32 throwing for 213 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. He's carried the ball 10 times for two touchdowns.
"He was groomed to be the Hobart quarterback," Brickies coach Ryan Turley said.
His father, Chris, played high school football in Omaha. His mom, Jen Vrabely, grew up in Hammond and graduated from Bishop Noll. The two met in the U.S. Navy and returned to the region.
They lived in Hammond before Chris researched a good football town and relocated to Hobart. Chris Barras has coached at many levels in Hobart and now is the team photographer.
"He put Matt and I at quarterback because he wanted us to be leaders of the team," Andrew said. "It was cool watching my older brother play quarterback. I learned a lot from him.
"Playing smarter and making better reads."
Against West Side, Hobart went with a ground game and Barras didn't throw much. Against LaPorte, he threw two late TD passes as Hobart stormed back from a 14-point second-half deficit to win in overtime.
In last year's 38-13 win over Griffith, Barras only threw five passes.
"He does whatever we ask of him," Turley said. "The team always comes first with Andrew."
There have been bigger Griffith-Hobart games in the past. But this is still one of the area's top showdowns. It is for Barras.
"My brother's last game was against Griffith," he said of the 35-14 loss in a 2008 sectional semifinal. "I want to win this. We all want to win this. Bad."
In Barras' sophomore season, the Brickies went 3-8. As a junior, they went 8-3 and led eventual state runner-up Mishawaka at halftime in the sectional semifinal.
Hobart was that close to making a run, winning a sectional. This Barras wants to keep that going.
"It's a great feeling being 2-0," Barras said. "We want to keep it rolling, especially against (Griffith)."