To the superstitious, a full moon is believed to elicit patterns of unpredictable human behavior.
If you believe in that sort of stuff, then consider Minooka head coach Terry McCombs as unpredictable as they come.
With a full moon overhead, the No.15 seeded Indians were deadlocked at 34-34 in overtime with the 2nd-seeded Barrington Broncos in the second round of the 8A playoffs. That's when the 70-year old coach called a play the team had not used all year. A play that worked to perfection.
"Just a simple lateral pass back to the tackle," said McCombs. "We had to go into our bag of tricks a little tonight."
Facing fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Indians quarterback Zach Gessner tossed a pass to defensive lineman Derek Wentworth who rumbled into the end zone to give the visitors a 41-34 lead. It was very questionable call as to whether Wentworth was behind the line when he caught the pass, but the referees deemed that he had.
If you've ever seen the chicken chase in "Rocky II" then you'll have a general idea of how daunting a task it is to tackle Barrington's Ray Niro.
In the scene, Rocky Balboa attempts to coral a live chicken as part of his training regimen to improve his quickness, and just when he thinks he's got the fowl cornered, it eludes him yet again.
Life imitated art on Saturday afternoon for the Hoffman Estates Hawks defense when it visited Barrington and attempted to bring down the Broncos' signal caller.
Niro passed for 166 yards and 3 TDs, rushed for 110 yards and 2 TDs and even caught a 39-yard TD - in the first half- as Barrington won 47-21 in an MSL West battle of the unbeatens.
For all you fantasy football nerds out there, that's like 48 points in PPR formats.
"I've never had a half like that, but it's a good feeling," said Niro. "The scout defense did a great job preparing us all week for the game, so when I came into the game, I wasn't really nervous because I felt...
It's been the Barrington Broncos mantra this year and it was on full display Thursday night in Palatine when the team dug deep and got past the host Pirates, 26-24, in a colossal MSL West showdown.
Using a combination of ball control and stout defense in the second half, the Broncos turned a 14-14 tie at intermission into a 26-14 advantage with just seconds to go in the game in order to move to 6-0 overall on the year. Palatine dropped to 3-3.
"These guys played with the heart of a champion tonight," said Broncos head coach, Joe Sanchez. "We've had some great games in this rivalry, we've had a lot of guys that have been close, but to get over the hump and win one tonight … it feels good."
The Broncos entered the matchup having dropped the last three contests against their conference foes and 10 of the last 11 meetings in the series overall.
And it appeared that the Pirates, whose only losses on the year were to perennial power...
If anyone out there thinks there's a defense that can stop, or at least limit the damage Barrington senior quarterback Ray Niro is capable of inflicting, think again.
Niro led Barrington to a 36-9 road victory at New Trier on Friday night, torching the Trevians by land and by air as the Broncos moved to 3-0 for the fifth consecutive season.
"He extends plays," said New Trier head coach, Brian Doll. "Just when you think you have him bottled up, a 4-second play turns into a 10-second play. It's tough to defend against him for that long."
Niro has given defenses fits during the 2017 campaign, and a lot of that can be attributed to the stellar job of starting offensive linemen, Geoff Frenk, Brendan Carpizo, Alec Meister, Brad Warman and Jorge Gavina. Coming into the contest against the Trevians, the Broncos averaged 335 yards on the ground and over 500 yards of total offense per game.