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MCVTS senior chosen for all-star football game

MCVTS senior chosen for all-star football game

Branden Barnes, a senior on the Piscataway Campus of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools, was chosen to play in a prestigious bowl game – and his school doesn’t even have a football team.

Branden, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound resident of Edison, is currently playing basketball for the Piscataway Vo-Tech Raiders, but earlier this month he showed off his football talent in the International Bowl at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas. He was chosen as a defensive lineman for the Under-19 Select Team by USA Football.

“I played with people from all around the country,” he said, noting that he was in Texas for a week of practice before the game.

“I had four tackles, I pressured the quarterback into throwing an interception and I blocked a field goal,” Branden said, adding that he was disappointed that the tape of the game didn’t show a good angle on the blocked field goal attempt.

In order to play high school football, Branden would suit up in Piscataway as soon as the final bell sounded and then rush out the door to be driven to Edison by his mother for daily practices. He played both defense and tight end for his hometown Edison High School Eagles.

“I enjoy playing football a lot more,” Branden said. “I play pretty much anywhere on the defensive line and I play tight end, as well.

“I like playing defense, but when it comes down to it for college, I’ll play wherever they want me to.”

He has drawn interest from some major Division I football schools.

“Most of the schools I’ve been targeting have really good engineering programs,” said Branden, who is a computer assisted drafting major on the Piscataway Campus. He is known by his teachers and school administrators as a good student and an all-around good guy.     

“Branden Barnes is a student leader who inspires his peers to reach higher, dream bigger, and achieve greater,” Principal Joseph Armstead said.

Branden was happy that his parents and his brother were able to accompany him to Texas for the bowl game, and two aunts who live nearby also attended. He was impressed by the size of the Cowboys’ locker room and the training facilities.

He plays center for the Piscataway Campus basketball team, but was forced to miss three games while he was in Texas.

“They did manage to win while I was gone,” he said.