Is there any stopping the Broncos?
Aside from a blip against state-powerhouse Schaumburg, the Barrington football team has been rolling this season. They kept it up Friday night in a home-field 32-20 win over a stubborn Conant team in a Mid-Suburban West battle that tested Barrington's mettle.
The Broncos needed every one of their 394 yards of total offense and had to dig deep on defense several times to keep Conant out of the end zone to preserve the win.
More importantly, they outright locked up their 8A playoff spot.
But don't tell them that.
"We've got two games to get a better seed in the playoffs," said wide receiver Scottie Miller, who again dazzled with a 75-yard TD strike from Dan Kubiuk as Barrington improved to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the division.
"Our quarterback's fantastic," Miller said of his buddy Kubiuk, who finished 16-of-24 for 198 yards, no turnovers and 2 TDs.
In addition to the back-breaking bomb, Barrington turned the game when the defense stymied Conant on first-and-goal at the 3 after the Cougars (4-3, 1-2) had opened the second half with a 14-play, 83-yard drive -- and got no points out of it. After Elias Gardner (33 carries, 141 yards) had personally brought the Cougars to the 3, Ryan Blair and Dan Hanley led a stand that forced them back to the 10, whereupon Miller, guarding opposite number D'Angelo McBride, smothered him on a front-corner fade on fourth down.
"That's a huge swing," said Barrington coach Joe Sanchez. "I was proud of our kids, proud of their resolve."
"That, to me, swung momentum" said Conant coach Bill Modelski, whose son Danny had a 16-for-36 night for 242 yards and 2 TDs, including a spinning, circus-catch 41-yarder to Dante Marski. McBride and Miller had a personal battle all night, guarding each other while each had 5 receptions, Miller for 121 yards, McBride for 97.
Denied at the goal line, Barrington responded a couple of possessions later with Dylan Abel (15 carries, 89 yards) darting back and forth between tacklers for what would be a 48-yard, game-clinching TD early in the fourth quarter, his second of the game.
And the win left the Broncos clearly focused on the future.
"We're not satisfied," said Sanchez, who wants to grab wins in the remaining two games before the playoffs and find some consistency to battle the sluggish starts his team has suffered the last few games.
"The last two games, we started out slow," Miller agreed. "We've still got a lot of work to get done."
So does Conant, if it wants to play beyond Week 9.
"Our focus has always has been to get better week to week," said Modelski. "We're disappointed in ourselves. "You learn from it."