Barrington's Josh Babicz turned from pass catcher to pass thrower Friday night in Barrington.
Babicz, who usually plays wide receiver, stepped in and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass on his very first play from scrimmage to spur Barrington to a 28-7 victory over Leyden in the opening round of the Class 8A playoffs.
The 10th-seeded Broncos (10-1) travel to play Maine South next week after the Hawks upended previously unbeaten West Aurora 42-40 on Friday. It will be rematch of a Week 3 game that Barrington won 41-27.
"All we wanted to do tonight was to make sure we are still playing," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "I am really proud of us as a whole group."
Babicz was called to duty late in the third quarter when starter Ray Niro went down with an injured ankle and the scored tied at 7. Realizing that Leyden was jamming the line of scrimmage for the replacement quarterback, offensive coordinator Pat Wire called an audible.
Babicz then lofted a perfect pass on a corner route to Jake Parsons, who made a spectacular catch for the go-ahead touchdown.
"I have always prepared for that situation," Babicz said. "It was supposed to be a run play. We just audibled to a fade and I just tossed it up there. We just trust each other."
Babicz, who is a senior, had been the starting quarterback at Barrington his freshman and sophomore year. He moved to wide receiver last season and committed to North Dakota State.
"This brought me back to the old days," Babicz said.
Sanchez said he was not surprised at how well Babicz was able to perform in relief.
"That's what you expect from a senior," Sanchez said. "It comes from a guy who has been here and played the position and did a great job and gave us some momentum."
That score put Barrington up 14-7 with 2:36 to play and turned the tide for the Broncos.
After a three-and-out by Leyden (7-3) and a short punt, Barrington took over at the Leyden 45. Logan Moews busted off a pair of nice runs, the first covering 35 yards and the next the final 10, and quickly it was 21-7 Barrington.
"That was the difference in the game," Leyden coach Tom Cerasani said. "It turned the momentum around in their favor. That was the story of the game. They made big plays."
Moews made a couple that turned Leyden on its heels.
The Leyden defense, led by Travon Thomas, Ata Hinnawi and Jason Kemp, had Barrington bottled up at times with a gambling, blitzing attack.
But Moews, running behind a revamped offensive line, was able to find room when he needed it. He finished with 239 yards on 27 carries, which included touchdown runs of 52 and 53 yards.
"They were really doing some crazy stuff up front against us," Moews said. "But in the second half we started to settle down and figured out a way to move them."
The Barrington offense finished with 416 rushing yards and 468 yards of total offense. The Broncos are hoping that the injury to Niro, which kept the junior quarterback out of action for the final 15 minutes, will be a short-lived thing.
"We don't know much right now," Sanchez said. "But we have a great training staff here and Ray is a hard-working kid."
The Barrington defense, led by Blake Holley, Jackson Perkins, Parker Goodwin, Luke Coon, Ben Streisand and Tanner Long, was able to contain Leyden's offense, especially in the second half.
"The past few weeks we have given up too many points and that is unacceptable," Holley said. "We are playing a bend-don't-break type of defense. Our goal is to make sure they earn everything they get -- and we did that."
Barrington could not shake Leyden in the first half.
Twice the Broncos had the ball inside the Leyden 10 and were turned away. The first time it was because of 3 holding penalties, and the next time on downs.
Even after Moews scored on the first of his long runs, the Eagles fought back. Michael Wilms, who was 12-of-24 for 185 yards, connected with Joshua Cubon on a crossing pattern that turned into 51-yard touchdown that evened the game at 7-7.
Barrington was able to pull away late in the third quarter with the two quick touchdowns and the long run by Moews.
Despite the loss, Cerasani felt it did not diminish what his Eagles accomplished this season. Leyden won the West Suburban Gold and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
"I though we hung right with them in the first half," Cerasani said. "It was something we hadn't done all season, which was to give up the big play.
"It was our goal to win our conference and get here. It would have been great to get a couple of wins after, but these kids played hard all season and it showed in what we accomplished."