Scouting the Barrington Broncos
Barrington is looking to turn its horses loose in 2019.
The Broncos are coming off a 7-4 season and were eliminated in the playoffs in the second round. But with 13 returning starters, Barrington feels it can make a deep run this season.
"We were really fortunate last year," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "We had a tough three-game stretch and we were able to bounce back the way we did."
Sanchez said that the late season turnaround last year has carried over to this year's team.
"It helped propel our offseason and summer work," Sanchez said. "It served as a motivation and we continue to build off that. Looking forward to seeing what we can do this year. The kids have come in focused and we have had very good a summer to this point. "
Tommy Fitzpatrick, the latest in a long line of quarterback stars for the Broncos, returns for his senior season. Fitzpatrick put up great numbers last year as a junior, throwing for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for 483 yards.
"Having a quarterback return with game experience is a tremendous asset," Sanchez said. "The game is much slower for him thanks to all the things he went through last year. That experience will pay big dividends, but it also means a higher standard of expectation."
Fitzpatrick has his favorite receiver, EJ Darlington, to throw the ball to again this season. Darlington, who has explosive speed, had 47 catches for 548 yards. He also rushed for 250 yards and returned a kick for a touchdown.
Darlington will be paired on the outside with Ryan Smith, who transferred from Hoffman Estates this summer. The duo will not only give defenses fits with their pass catching ability, but should open up the offense with the opportunity to get to the outside on the jet sweep.
That could open up the inside for running backs Quinn Ketel and Bryan Smith, Ryan's brother, as they look to replace the 800 yards the Broncos lost when Michael Curran graduated.
Barrington will also look offensively to wide receivers Jerry Doheny, David Hutson and Joey Gurskis to spread the ball around.
The offensive line struggled at times last year, especially with teams that had more size. Barrington believes the group that consists of Ray Schmitz (6-4, 230), Niko Kutrombis (6-0, 235), Nathan Kohlamian (5-10, 200), Matt Berry (6-3, 215) along with Matt Blasius (5-10, 185) and Logan Ambroz (6-2, 215) should rectify that problem.
The defense looks to be much stronger this year thanks to return of two of its top performers from last season.
Defensive end Lukas Van Ness (6-5, 240), who garnered nearly 30 Division-I offers this offseason before choosing Iowa, will anchor the line. Van Ness, who was a force last year, will give Barrington a solid pass rusher as well as run defender on the line.
Van Ness will be joined on the D-line by Matt Reedy, Paul Kondraros, Colin Cress and Matt Kolder.
The Broncos also return middle linebacker Dayven Shinhoster. A three-year starter, Shinhoster will have Hayden Kraus and Evan Roper flanking him at outside linebacker.
The secondary will be fast and athletic with Nick Barron, Johnny Podlesnik, Bryan Smith, Ryan Smith and Darlington playing corner. Lucas Kozlowski and Adam Brokke will be at safety.
"We are really excited about our defensive group," Sanchez said. "This is a really talented and smart group and they understand what it takes out there."
The first win of the 2019 campaign for Barrington will be the 500th in school history. The Broncos, who have compiled a mark of 499-313-30 since they began playing football in 1924, have a tough season-opener in Warren.
"It is obviously a very special thing," Sanchez, who has been at the helm at Barrington for 17 years and has won 129 games.
"It is a great accomplishment and a great feat. We have had quality coaches and assistant coaches along the way with the quality of players and great community."