Barrington's football season now comes down to two teams:
The Broncos will have to beat both playoff-bound Mid-Suburban West opponents just to be eligible. But if they perform like they did last night against spunky Hoffman Estates in a 49-19 victory, well, you never know.
"We're excited about the challenge," said Barrington coach Joe Sanchez after he got a record-tying performance from wideout Andrew Matella, whose 11 catches for 3 TDs both equaled school marks.
And to be sure, the Broncos (3-4, 1-2 Mid-Suburban West) are taking them one game at a time, just as they did last night's against winless Hoffman. They had to.
Hoffman jumped ahead early and failed to capitalize on several good scoring chances before Barrington delivered some crushing blows from the end of the second quarter into the third.
Most of those were tosses to Matella from Daniel Kubiuk (15-of-22, 241 yards), including a 45-yarder with 12 seconds left in the half on a fade down the right side for a 28-7 halftime lead after Hoffman had threatened to score. But Jake Coon stretched tall to pick off an otherwise superb Eric Brooks.
"We didn't capitalize," said Hoffman coach Eric Ilich. "They clamped down in the red zone," getting pressure from Ben Calamari and Colin Castagna on Brooks.
Barrington, meanwhile, did capitalize.
"The shorter routes were open," said Matella, who took several swing passes and turned them into nice gains, as did Mitch Pfieffer and Matt Moran.
Justin Dragosz did the damage on the ground (16 carries, 91 yards), capping two possessions with a 4-yard TD run in the first half and a 5-yarder in the second half.
The Broncos scored on four of their first five possessions and spread the wealth around all night, as Dylan Abel and Kubiuk himself also found the end zone.
"We challenged our offense before the game," said Sanchez, his team coming off division losses in which they didn't perform as well on that side of the ball as they would've liked.
Hoffman is just looking for a full game's worth of performance it likes.
"Our arch nemesis is our focus," said Ilich. "We've been unable to get any sustainability through four quarters."
The Hawks got 137 tough yards rushing from Harry Wright and 162 passing from Brooks, including TDs to Anthony Patrick, Mike Jackson and Jared Bruemmer.
Despite giving up all those yards, Barrington believes it's ready for its next two challenges.
"Redemption," Matella said in response to summing up his feelings about the Palatine game, adding, "Belief," about Conant thereafter.
"We can only take them one at a time," said Sanchez.