Conant knocks off Barrington to move to 6-0
Malik Frederick and Conant continue to make a name for themselves.
Frederick, who is a junior, rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown behind an undersized offensive line as Conant remained unbeaten with a 21-14 win over host Barrington on Saturday in Mid-Suburban West action.
The win secured a playoff berth for the Cougars for the second-straight season. It's also believed to be Conant's first 6-0 start to a season since 1990 when the Cougars finished 11-1.
"Our game plan is to use as much time on the clock and wear down the defense," said Frederick, who had 28 carries. "Our offensive line, I love those guys. They put their heart out in the field on every play. I trust them as much as I trust anybody on this earth."
The interior line, comprised of Walter Pedra, Harry Chang, Ethan Richert, Kyle Prodzinski and Rory Conroy, average just 6-feet tall and 204 pounds. That group, along with tight ends Tony Datoli and Mason Reiger, enabled the Cougars (6-0, 2-0) to rush for 215 yards.
"We are an undersized group but we have a lot of heart," Pedra said. "We work really hard. We are out there just tying to get the job done."
They did a great job early as Conant was able to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 1-yard run by Frederick. It was set up by an interception by Marktwain Green at the Barrington 28.
Barrington (4-2, 1-1) was able to tie the game in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Quinn Ketel.
Conant came right back and put together an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive with all 11 plays on the ground. Frederick's 35-yard run would later set up a Giuseppe Dugo 2-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7.
Barrington again came back to tie the game. The Broncos had a 9-play, 52-yard scoring drive that again was capped on a 1-yard touchdown run by Ketel that tied the game at 14-14 with 5:44 left in the third quarter.
It came down to fourth down plays from there.
With just over 9 minutes to play, Barrington gambled on 4th-and-two from its own 45. Broncos quarterback Tommy FitzPatrick was tackled a yard short, giving Conant excellent field position.
The Cougars drove to the Barrington 27 and faced a 4th-and-three. Dugo pulled the ball from Frederick, and scampered around the right end for a touchdown with 4:52 to play.
"The play was called from the sideline," said Dugo, a sophomore who rushed for 48 yards and threw just one pass.
"We saw what they were doing and we knew we could get the edge. It was a wide open lane and I just saw grass."
Barrington had an opportunity to tie. FitzPatrick directed the Broncos to the Conant 6 with just 30 seconds to play. But his third down pass in the end zone was dropped and his fourth down pass sailed over the head of his receiver.
"Good teams have to find a way to get through adversity," Conant coach Bryan Stortz said. "This year we have not had as many adverse situations as we did today. We struggled at times, but our kids kept fighting and finding ways to get things done."
Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said it came down to which team could convert plays when they needed them.
"It was a typical MSL West battle," Sanchez said. "It comes down to one or two plays in either phase of the game. They just made one more play than we did on both sides of the ball."