Broncos Bulldoze Into Playoffs
It's "Back to Business" in Barrington.
And business is booming.
After consecutive losses to Conant and Fremd in Weeks 6 and 7, the Broncos rebounded with convincing wins over Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg, the latter coming on Friday night in a 50-15 home victory.
"We had some tough games against some really good teams," said Barrington head coach Joe Sanchez. "We had to own it and be accountable for it and I was really proud of the way our boys and coaches kept battling, finding a way to keep getting better."
The Broncos got off to a quick start when quarterback Tommy Fitzpatrick scored on a 14-yard TD run at the 8:32 mark of the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
Just three minutes later, running back Quinn Ketel was off to the races on a 63-yard TD scamper to extend Barrington's lead to 14-0.
Schaumburg stormed back and Shamaree Brown hit pay dirt from 14 yards out to trim the deficit to 14-7.
And just when it appeared as though the Saxons would tie the game following a Bronco punter's knee being called down on its own 1-yard line while attempting to field the snap, Barrington's defense came up clutch.
The MSL West's best defense forced a turnover on the ensuing play when the Saxons attempted a quarterback sneak and the team rode that momentum the rest of the ball game.
"That was huge," said Sanchez. "Our defense has been phenomenal the entire year, even with some of the injuries we've had to deal with along the way. That play was indicative of their heart and finding a way to get it done."
Following the turnover, Fitzpatrick led the Broncos down the field and connected with Bryan Smith on an 18-yard TD toss to make it 21-7.
Kicker Ramiro Vences then drilled a 33-yard field goal with under a minute to go in the half for a 24-7 lead at intermission.
Barrington opened the third quarter the way they had finished the second-with a flourish.
Fitzpatrick hit Ryan Smith on a 17-yard TD strike, Bryan Smith followed with an 8-yard TD run on the Broncos next possession, then Ketel scored his second touchdown of the game on a 30-yard Jaunt with 3:04 left in the stanza that helped the Broncos advantage balloon to 43-7.
To say that the Broncos are right where they want to be headed into the postseason may be an understatement.
"We were in a dark place (following losses to Conant and Fremd) where we lost those two games, having felt that they should have ended differently," said Sanchez. "It's easy to give up, but we didn't and that speaks volumes to the culture of our program."