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.
"The offensive line stepped up big tonight," said Niro. "They allowed me a lot of time back there to get rid of the ball."
After a scoreless first quarter, the Broncos got on the board early in the second when bruising junior running back Michael Curran barreled into the end zone from a yard out to put Barrington up 6-0. The Trevians received a steady first-quarter dose of Curran as he rushed 12 times for 56 yards, softening a stout New Trier defense along the way.
"Michael did a great job tonight of getting things going," said Broncos head coach Joe Sanchez. "The offensive line did a great job, but when the holes were not there he just lowered his shoulder for that extra yardage. … We need more play like that to be more balanced … (Niro) is a special player, but the more balanced we are, the more dangerous a team we can be."
New Trier tried to answer Curran's score and mounted a drive of its own, marching all the way to the Broncos five-yard line. However, on third-and-goal, Barrington senior defensive back Grant Leichter sniffed out the bootleg by New Trier's Carson Ochsenhirt and corralled him for a loss, forcing the Trevs to boot a short field goal and cut the deficit to 6-3.
"I'm very happy with our defensive effort tonight," said Sanchez. "The coaches did a great job all preparing them all week."
With the score still 6-3, the Broncos defense stymied another Trevians drive, handing the ball back to Niro and Co. with 3:37 to go before the half. Niro needed roughly two minutes to call his own number and scamper into the end zone from 26 yards out as Barrington led at the break, 14-3.
New Trier received the second-half kickoff and promptly mounted another drive, getting as far as the Barrington 17 until the bend-but-don't-break Bronco defense stonewalled the Trevs once again. New Trier then missed a field goal that would have made it a one-score game.
And then the floodgates opened.
Late in the third quarter, senior wide receiver Alec Andrea put the Broncos up 22-3 on a 14-yard touchdown trot, sending the hometown faithful filing for the exits.
For good measure, Niro tossed a 69-yard bomb to senior wideout Jake Parsons, and then followed by a 43-yard heave to senior Johnny Gagne to give the visitors a win in a landslide.
"Anytime you can get a quality win on the road a against a playoff team, and that's a playoff team over there, we'll take it," Sanchez said.
New Trier (1-2) will try to get back on track when it travels to Hoffman Estates to play a much-improved Conant (1-2) squad, while the Broncos will host Glenbrook South at 7:30 next Friday.