(Player Spotlight) - Mark Baranowski #64, Nickname - "Baro" - Right Guard, Defensive Tackle, and Specialty Teams. *Ironman Player. *Two-way Starter, (RIP)
Mark was our starting right guard and starting defensive tackle. He was 6'1" and 190 lbs. He was a two-way player who rarely left the field. Baro played on all specialty teams. I played football with Mark for five years and he played on three undefeated football teams, amassing a 45-4-2 winning record. In 1984, Baro was used as a pulling and trapping guard, and would hammer opponents relentlessly. He was the fastest offensive lineman we had. He was extremely aggressive. That season Baro was one of the best offensive/defensive combo players in Northern California. When Mark was not tormenting opposing teams, he was our team rebel and prankster. I am very grateful he was a Viking and not an opponent, because in 1984 he was as good as they came. Mark was my compadre. He was a master at taking names and couldn't be intimidated on the gridiron. In game #11 against Folsom, the second round of the playoffs for the Sac-Joaquin Section Title, Mark pulled left on a trap and hit their star defensive lineman. The hit was so hard and brutal it echoed in the open stadium at Vanden's George Gammon field. The following Monday when we watched game film, that hit was replayed over and over. When Baro hit an opposing player on a pull or trap it became a very bad day for them. I think his look in this photo says it all, he was a tough trencher, and those who tested him usually came out on the losing end. Prior to the 1984 season Mark worked out for a full year and spent the summer before Hell Week doing drills and running to get into shape with a group of us. That season in 1984 there is no one else in the state or country I would have wanted pulling right or left with me on a sweep, because I trusted Mark, and I knew the damage he was going to unleash on opposing players. Thanks for the memories, Baro. You took names.