Darlington, Barrington pass up Maine S.
Barrington's Eric Darlington never had a doubt in his mind.
"I knew it was going to be a touchdown the minute they called it," Darlington said.
Darlington wasn't wrong. His pass to Tim Lowe ended up as the eventual winning touchdown as Barrington stunned perennial state power Maine South 26-23 on Friday in Park Ridge.
It was the first pass Darlington, who is a wide receiver, had ever thrown.
"That was definitely a first," Darlington said. "It was the first in my high school career."
It could not have come at better time or in a better play call for Barrington (3-0).
Trailing 23-20 with just over three minutes to play and headed into a stiff wind on their own 46, the Broncos made the play call of the season.
Quarterback Tommy Fitzpatrick took a direct snap and quickly fired the ball to Darlington toward the Barrington sideline. Darlington, who had taken a couple a steps behind Fitzpatrick, caught what was now a lateral. Darlington then lofted the ball downfield to a wide open Tim Lowe, who outraced the Maine South defenders for the go-ahead touchdown.
"I was thinking that that I could not get too nervous so I would mess up," Lowe said. "I looked that ball until it was in my armpit. All the way in."
It was then up to the Barrington defense to preserve the lead. Maine South drove to the Barrington 36, but the Broncos defense turned the Hawks away.
"Our guys fought all the way, " Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "We found just enough offense tonight to score enough points to find a way. Our defense battled against an incredibly powerful offense. I am just proud of kids and our coaches."
Darlington had come up with another huge play earlier in the game when he took the opening kickoff of the second half all the way back from 86 yards to tie the game at 10.
"I never ran a kickoff back, either," Darlington said. "That was a first for me too."
Maine South had the ball for most of the third quarter and converted both of their possessions into touchdowns, it appeared the Hawks (2-1) would be on their way to a win.
Maine South scored on a fourth-and-15 play to make it 17-10. The Hawks then kicked an onside kick and after recovering it, scored to make it 23-10 with 4:59 left in the third quarter.
The Broncos would then find a way to rally.
"I think that is a credit to our mind set," Sanchez said. "We talk all the time about controlling the controlable. That is the next play and you never know what is going to happen on the next play."
Barrington responded by driving down the the field a William Hutchinson booted his second field goal of the game to make it 23-13 with 2:06 left in the third quarter.
The defense then came up with a big stop and the special team came up with even a bigger play.
Forced to punt from their own 15, the snap from Maine South was high. Punter Michael Velasquez attempted to run go ball, but was stripped by Barrington's Mark Di Iorio. After a mad scramble, the Broncos Adam Brokke fell on the ball in the end zone to give Barrington some momentum.
It was just one of many big plays that the Barrington defense came up with.
Despite allowing 23 points, the Bronco defense, led by Di Iorio, Lukas Van Ness, Kevin Meckert, Sam Sheedy, Lucas Kozlowski and Dayven Shinhoster made the plays when needed.
"We came in like we knew we could win tonight," said Meckert, who had 10 tackles including 2 sacks. "The scout offense showed us the looks during practice and that was a huge help."
Maine South had a 10-3 lead at the half.
After Hutchinson kicked a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter, the Hawks answered with a field goal, of their own. They then took the lead after capitalizing on an interception just before the half and scoring on a 1-yard run.
Sanchez felt this was one of the biggest wins for his team in a number of years.
"To be able to come here and to be able to come out and be successful it is a great challenge," Sanchez said. "But we have been fortunate at times. We knew the environment and we knew what we were up against."