WESTFIELD, NJ — Senior Stevie Barden has been one of Westfield High School varsity football team’s most versatile players this year, according to head coach Jim DeSarno.

“He’s been a ‘lock down’ corner for us on defense and a real threat as a receiver on offense,” DeSarno said. “He’s been a great leader for our team on and off the field as well.”

This week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week said that the pride he takes is more about his team than himself.

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“To be honest, I am most proud of our team becoming more of a family and for our underclassmen on how they’ve took on the role of the starter spots they were placed in,” Barden said. “They expect a lot from us seniors. So, that means we expect the same from them. We take a lot of pride in this team and it really shows when we get into these close games. We know to keep our composure and to focus on the next play, not the previous one.”

In the spring, Barden will play varsity baseball for his second year.

“I worked hard to get myself into the lineup last year,” he said, “and I plan on having much more success this year at the plate and on the field while trying to grab another county chip with my teammates again this season.”

For now, it’s all about the football team, which is on a 34-game winning streak — currently the longest in the state.

“What I love most about the game is the fact I get to do all of this with the guys I’ve been playing with since I was in elementary school,” Barden said. “Through those years till now we have created an unbreakable bond; these are the kinds of people you want to keep in your life till you die. We’ve been through so much together. We’ve been through much adversity. But we’ve also been able to rack up a couple accolades that we can fall on since eighth grade, and it’s really rewarding at the end. If I didn’t have the teams that I’ve played on coming through middle and high school, I wouldn’t want to play football or baseball because it would make everything different without having those guys to lean on when I need them or joke around with. It just wouldn’t be the same. And they all know I love ’em like we are blood.”

Barden is still deciding where he’ll go after graduation.

“I hope to find a good academic school where they can provide me with the education I need for my major and also for life when school is done, while still getting a chance to play football and baseball at the collegiate level,” he said.

The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Located 502 East Broad St., the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 15 years. Call them at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote this week and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit ronbansky.com