Opportunity was knocking in Gurnee on Saturday night.
Nate King and his Barrington teammates answered the door more often than Warren did in their 21-13 Class 8A second round playoff win.
King, a sophomore running back for the Broncos, might not have even seen the field much had starter Dylan Abel not been out with an injury. But he subbed right in and looked as if he belonged there all along, rolling up 132 yards on 28 carries. King also scored Barrington's first touchdown.
"Nate has been with us all year, but he's seen even more opportunities the last three or four weeks due to injuries and he's been feeling it," said Barrington coach Joe Sanchez, whose team moves to 10-1 and will host Stevenson (9-2) next week in its first quarterfinals appearance since 2008. "We stuck with him and he got the job done tonight. It was a matter of opportunity coming and Nate seizing it."
As a team, the Broncos also took advantage of a couple of red-tinted golden opportunities, including a late-game series in the red zone that yielded the game-winning touchdown -- a 6-yard, third-down touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Kubiuk to Matt Moran with 1:53 left.
"All of us gave effort, all of us battled," said Barrington wide receiver Dylan Bingham, whose nifty 66-yard touchdown reception that included a few nifty juke moves along the way gave the Broncos their first lead of the game (14-10 with 7:06 left in the third quarter). "I had faith in our team the entire time that we would come out and make plays and get the job done."
Warren, meanwhile, didn't make enough of the right plays. The Blue Devils (7-4) struggled in the red zone, twice having to settle for field goals and once turning the ball over with an interception in the end zone.
"We just couldn't get the ball in there," said Warren running back Max Sorby, referring to the end zone. "We got the ball in all the right spots, we just couldn't punch it in.
"It was really frustrating. I love my guys to death, but we just didn't get the job done. We had the opportunities. We should have beaten them. We had it (victory). We just let it go."
Warren jumped on the board first with a 15-yard touchdown run by Sorby (24 carries, 120 yards) just before the end of the first quarter.
King tied the game at 7-7 with his 15-yard run with 9:52 left in the second quarter, but the Blue Devils went up again and took a 10-7 lead into the halftime locker room on Griffin Rosuck's 28-yard field goal.
Barrington quickly erased that deficit when Kubiuk (18-of-33, 188 yards) connected with Bingham and he scored his highlight-reel touchdown with 7:06 left in the third quarter. Meanwhile, just as the Broncos' offense began to heat up, Warren's seemed to lose its rhythm.
The Blue Devils got only 97 of their 316 total yards in the second half, and could not get back to the end zone. A 30-yard field goal by Griffin Rosuck accounted for Warren's only second-half points.
"We've always competed hard and played well in the fourth quarter," Warren coach Dave Mohapp said. "Being down a little bit is not something that threw us off. We had opportunities offensively, we just couldn't finish them the way we needed to."
Down 21-13 with 1:48 left, Warren had four shots to keep the chains moving and work its way downfield. But quarterback Andrew Nickell (14-of-30, 177 yards) threw three straight incompletions, including one that got batted down by Barrington linebacker Colin Castagna to end the series.
"With the talent they have and the quarterback they have, we certainly weren't (breathing easy) until it was all over," Sanchez said. "I'm just so proud of our guys. We came back and we found a way to get it done."
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