Barrington wasted little time laying claim to a regional title.
The Broncos scored 4 first-half goals before cruising to a 5-3 victory over previously undefeated Cary-Grove (17-1-2) Friday night at Barrington Community Park.
Freshman sensation Kendall Stork was the creator-in-chief for the Broncos (18-3-3). The young striker helped Barrington take command early by finding the back of the net twice just after the quarter-hour. Then he assisted on goals by Connor Hennelly and Tyler Anderson late in the first period to help give the Broncos a 4-goal advantage after 40 minutes of soccer.
"I told the guys in the pregame that I fully expected a tight, close match," said Barrington coach Scott Steib. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would score 5 goals against a team like (Cary-Grove), which allowed maybe 5-6 goals all season."
"I didn't expect a result like this either," said Broncos captain Craig Zahour. "I figured they would have trouble with our work rate, and they struggled with the way we played early on. But even at 2-0, which is the most dangerous lead to hold, and then at 3-0, we didn't let up. But you have to credit the way they played so hard right up until the end."
Stork, Zahour and Ethan Claes, each named to the all-MSL team this season, formed a three-headed attacking monster. Along with Hennelly, Logan Morris and David Conrad, the Broncos gave the Trojans fits off the opening whistle, leading up to Stork finishing a Zahour blast which skipped of the wet turf and off the post.
Stork put in his 16th of the season with both Zahour and Claes getting assists after all-state candidate Mike McKune had equalized for the visitors.
"McKune was brilliant all throughout this match, and I thought he willed his club to continue to play as hard as they could, even when they went down 4 goals," said Steib.
Two goals with three minutes to end the first half all but sunk the Trojans, who as watched Hennelly and Anderson finished to cap a superb 40 minutes against coach Mark Olson's club.
"We gave up a couple of tough early goals to get behind, but you would never know watching us play that we were down 4-1, then 5-1 early in the second half," said the Cary-Grove coach. "We knew what to expect from Barrington, but they are very good team, with great team speed -- especially No. 2 (Stork) up top. And they have come a long way since the first time we played them. So have we, but if we're going to lose to someone, it's OK to do so against a quality team and a coach like (Steib) who is all class and runs a classy program as well."
When Morris gave the Broncos a 5-1 lead at 59 minutes,
Even with Barrington up 5-1, McKune and his teammates including Kevin Wilde, Matt Arenberg, Dale Oppasser and Brett Schuerg played like Fox Valley Conference Fox Division champs, roaring back to make a game of it and put a scare into the Broncos' fans.
McKune redirected a header from a Wilde cross past keeper Alex Broderick at 66 minutes. Then Wilde, a junior, thumped in his close-range shot after Broderick's nice save on Oppasser spilled a rebound out just 8 yards from the end line.
"One loss doesn't define a season, and what a season it was for this group," said Olson. "The guys worked so hard to earn all of the success they had this season, and I could not be more proud at this moment."
Barrington advances to the Rockford Auburn sectional semifinals, where on Tuesday it will meet the winner Saturday's DeKalb-Huntley match.