Barrington's Dylan Abel was just that Saturday in Barrington.
The junior running back began the season as the starter, but he'd been relegated to a back-up role the past couple of weeks.
Abel exploded Saturday for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns as Barrington rallied to top Fremd 35-21 in a game delayed two hours by lightning.
"I knew I wasn't as good as I needed to be," Abel said. "So this week I practiced as hard as I could. I wanted to prove myself."
Fremd was proving itself early. On its first play from scrimmage, Garrett Groot took a jet sweep around the right side and went 56 yards to put the Vikings up 7-0.
On Fremd's next possession, the Vikings marched 74 yards on 10 plays, highlighted by a 30-yard option pass from Nick Ratajczyk to Jeff Gill. Jeff McGlade capped the drive with a 7-yard run and it appeared Fremd was comfortably on its way.
"We did some things quite well early," Fremd coach Lou Sponsel said. "But we lost the momentum and never really recovered from that."
Barrington, which had trailed in four of its first five games this year and rallied to win, used that formula again. The Broncos erupted for 35 unanswered points.
"The game didn't start the way we wanted it to," said Barrington coach Joe Sanchez. "But we have been down before this season. I think we learned a lot about ourselves last week against Schaumburg and how we were able to come back at the end."
Barrington regained its composure in the second quarter, thanks to a 32-yard punt return by Scotty Miller, who took the ball to the Fremd 33.
Two plays later, Dan Kubiuk connected with Dylan Bingham on 33-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-7.
Abel then gave the Broncos a huge lift with his next two carries.
The first went 23 yards to tie the game at 14-14.
The next, with 3:01 left in the first half, was from 65 yards out and Barrington led 21-14 at the half.
"I just wasn't playing with enough anger," Abel said. "I am really excited about the way I played today."
"I thought Abel played very well today," Sanchez said. "He has been working real hard in practice and it showed today."
With some confidence offensively, the Barrington line began to assert itself.
Anthony Meads, Alex Serrano, Nitin Singh, Jack Bornhofen and Zach Ingram began to control the line of scrimmage, giving the Broncos even more play options. They finished with 283 rushing yards.
Kubiuk took advantage, passing and running the Broncos down the field. He was able to call his own number twice, scoring on runs of 21 and 34 yards as the Broncos opened up a 35-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.
"They were looking at our running backs, so I knew I could keep the ball," said Kubiuk, who rushed for 64 yards and threw for 100 yards on 8-of-16 passing. "Our offensive line did a great job all day."
Meanwhile, the Barrington defense, led by Jake Coon, Cooper Van Kampen, David Danhauer, Michael Dorobiala and Colin Castagna, forced 3 turnovers and held Fremd in check after the Vikings' first two offensive series.
"We settled down after the first two series," Coon said. "We knew we had to be relentless on defense and we did just that."
With 9:53 to play there was a two-hour delay when the lightning detector sounded.
When play resumed, Barrngton's Nick Coy and Miller each had an interception.
Fremd tallied with just over a minute to play on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Trever Cutler to Groot.
"I feel sick about the big plays we gave up today," Sponsel said. "We are going to start asking questions and look at the film to see what we can do to change that."