Barrington topples Schaumburg to become playoff eligible
As Barrington and Schaumburg got ready to battle in their Mid-Suburban West matchup at Gary Scholz Stadium each realized the importance of gaining a key fifth win on the season that would give them playoff eligibility.
Thanks to a pair of momentum-changing plays the visiting Broncos held off the host Saxons 27-13 to earn that fifth win.
In addition, as a result of the 45 playoff points Barrington has accumulated through Week 8 with the possibility of gaining 2-6 more points next week the victory serves as more of a virtual clinching of a playoff spot.
"We were able to swiftly respond to what Schaumburg did," Broncos head coach Joe Sanchez said. "We were able to create quick scoring opportunities through our efforts on both sides of ball."
It was through a pair of game-changing twists that provided the margin of victory for the visitors (5-3, 2-2). With Barrington ahead 10-7 and the home team driving deep into Bronco territory, the defense produced a key turnover when Dayven Shinhoster recovered a Schaumburg fumble at the Barrington 16 that came off a Sam Sheedy hit of a Saxon receiver at the 20 which came at the end of a 13-yard completion with just over 5 minutes gone by in the third quarter.
Thirteen seconds later junior wideout E.J. Darlington took a handoff from quarterback Tommy Fitzpatrick and went around the right side scurrying 84 yards to put Barrington ahead 17-7.
"He's one of the fastest guys I've ever played with," Fitzpatrick said of the 5 -- foot-10 junior who totaled 116 yards rushing and receiving. "He has this unbelievable vision to create big plays whenever he gets the ball."
However, it would take successful twist of fate to seal the deal as the Broncos were clinging to a 20-13 advantage when an attempted run on a fake punt by Schaumburg's Heze Trotter on a fourth-and-2 at the Saxon 39 came up a yard short with 6:49 to play leaving Varrington at the hosts' 40-yard line where 3 plays later Fitzpatrick shook off a blitzing defender to go 37 yards for the clincher. The Barrington junior signalcaller finished the night with 110 yards on 15 carries as the Bronco attack churned 398 yards of total offense, 336 on the ground.
"We were successfully able to make a quick turnaround from playing both Friday and Saturday by having a strong week of practices," Fitzpatrick said.
A sixth win at home versus Palatine on Friday would officially clinch Barrington a playoff spot and a higher seed.
For the Saxons (4-4, 1-3) a second shot at eligibility awaits as they travel to Fremd for the second consecutive season looking for their fifth win.
"The playoffs begin a week early for us," Schaumburg head coach Mark Stilling said. "We will be ready to play."