Elk Grove's football team hardly got the result it wanted. But the Grenadiers certainly made significant progress under first-year coach Miles Osei.
Barrington pulled away with a strong second half to defeat Elk Grove 58-28 in a Mid-Suburban crossover game that was more competitive than the final score suggests. It was certainly a better result than the 42-0 drubbing Elk Grove received last weekend against Hoffman Estates.
"I think our biggest message was just to get better this week," Osei said. "I think for the most part we're slowly trying to do that. I think mentally we've got a long way to go."
For starters, the Grenadiers got on the scoreboard this week, something they failed to do a week ago. Senior quarterback Tyler Selvig was the unexpected catalyst for the Grenadiers offense after not playing much in the season opener. He ran for one touchdown, threw for another and even caught a 55-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from last week's starter, Charlie Janczak.
Osei, a former Illinois wide receiver and Prospect High School standout, didn't single out one quarterback over the other after the loss. He also wouldn't name a starter for next week's contest against Glenbrook North.
"I think both guys are doing a good job competing," Osei said. "Each week we tell them it's an open competition and the better quarterback will play. I think they're both are doing a good job pushing each other."
Selvig's outstanding performance was somehow outdone by Barrington senior quarterback Ray Niro, who put on a show Friday night. Niro scored 6 touchdowns, four of which came on the ground, after he scored four times in the Broncos' season-opening victory over Warren.
But Barrington's first road victory of the season didn't come easily. The Grenadiers surprised the Broncos with an opening short kickoff that was recovered by the home team in Barrington territory. Elk Grove squandered that opportunity with a turnover on downs, but actually led the Broncos 7-6, midway through the first quarter.
Barrington ultimately powered its way to a 28-14 halftime advantage, but Elk Grove didn't surrender. Selvig aired it out on five consecutive plays and trimmed the deficit back to single digits with a 61-yard heave to Vinny Faciano, who made a leaping catch along the left sideline.
That was the closest the Grenadiers would come to pulling off the upset, as the Broncos outscored them 30-7 in the final 22 minutes of action to come out with the victory.
Longtime Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said he wasn't surprised by Elk Grove's strong effort despite the Week 1 blowout.
"We knew that they were going to come out and play better than what they did last week," Sanchez said. "Week 1 is so -- you never know what you're going to get. We knew.
"We talked as a team, we talked as a staff that they were going to come out (in) their home opener. This is a team with pride, a program with pride. They were going to come out and fight and that's exactly what they expected and you saw that."
Sanchez hailed his quarterback's performance, calling Niro "special," after the game. He was special enough to propel Barrington to victory in a hard-fought road win and will be relied upon next week when the Broncos travel to face New Trier.
"Winning on the road isn't easy," Sanchez said. "This was our first road game, an opportunity for our routine to be a little bit different and an opportunity for our team to face some adversity and deal with some adversity. So I was really proud of our kids."
Sanchez was also impressed by how Osei's Grenadiers responded from their disappointing opener. He noticed Elk Grove's progress from Week 1 and said the Grens are in the right hands with the former U of I receiver leading the way.
"I would expect they'll continue to improve under Coach Osei because obviously he was a great player, (I) coached against him, and I know what he's certainly capable of," Sanchez said. I think they'll match his positivity and his energy."