The 24th Barrington Classic Cup ended up in the hands of the hosts Saturday night after the Broncos' 2-1 triumph that owed everything to teamwork -- and perhaps the shooting skill of freshman Kendall Stork.
Stork surprised Boylan (3-3-1) when he rose up to head a Connor Hennelly serve just three minutes into the championship match. Later he gave the Broncos the insurance they'd need with another finish at 57 minutes to offset a late consolation goal by the Titans as they threw everything into their attack in the final 10 minutes of regulation in search of the equalizer.
"Barrington was an opportunistic team tonight, and with that freshman they have -- who has to be one of the best in the state, in my opinion -- they were able to win a hard-fought game between two very good teams," said Boylan coach Chris Mera.
"You cannot get too high -- or low, for that matter -- with what you do at this time of the season," said Barrington coach Scott Steib, "but this was a very good win for a team which has played well against some pretty good competition."
Stork, who had a hand in Jack Hoots' game-winner in semifinal play Thursday against St. Charles North, elevated far above the Titans' big back line to meet Hennelly's superb cross from the right flag, sending it into the back of the net for the match's first goal.
"I didn't even know the ball had gone in," said Stork of his back-post finish.
The Titans began targeting their top player, Mitchell Lotko, up top. He, along with Tony Montoya and Gabriel Moreno, proved to be a handful when the Broncos left the trio too much space.
But as they have all week long, the duo of Hennelly and Ethan Claes performed wonderfully in the middle. They've provided terrific support for their backline mates, who as a group have grown into a solid unit.
"I've been pleased with the growth of our defense -- they bend, but don't break, and they have played with a fair amount of composure for being together for such a short time," Steib said.
Just before the break, Danny Jaderhold nearly doubled the Broncos' lead when his shot off a Claes corner went just wide of the post.
Nick Krahmer had the best chance of the match for the Titans as the hour mark approached when he brought a long ball out of the back before unloading a well-aimed smash wide from just outside the box.
Moments later, Stork took full advantage of a gift when Claes' superb cross into the box eluded Titans keeper David Rehak Suma. The Broncos' rookie striker wasted little time in guiding his shot into the open net to give Barrington (4-1-0) a 2-goal advantage.
Fernando Telles, Dylan Nelson, Tyler Anderson and Zach Rowe weathered the storm the Titans whipped up in the last quarter hour to keep Lotko and company out of the back of the net -- until a poorly advised pass in the Broncos' final third gave Boylan a deep throw which eventually found Lotko in close enough to beat Deroche just two minutes from time.
"We got a little careless at the end, and gifted them after they did the same for us, but we still were able to hang on," said Steib.
"This team is playing with confidence right now, but we've got to continue this way next week with a couple of games in the MSL coming up," said Claes. "Our state champion team from 2007 didn't even win this tournament, so this is a great accomplishment for all of us."