Barrington defense comes up big in win over Conant

 
By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/1/2021 10:58 PM

The Barrington offense was able to move the ball up and down the field on the ground and through the air Thursday night at Conant.

But it was the defense that set the tone for the Broncos in a 35-13 Mid-Suburban West win over the Cougars.

 

From the first Conant offensive play, a tackle for a 1-yard loss by Barrington defensive lineman Matt Kolder, the Broncos defense was up to the challenge.

Barrington built a 35-0 lead before Conant tallied twice late.

"They're a pretty complete team," said Cougars coach Bryan Stortz of the Broncos. "They're too good to make small mistakes against, which wind up looking big on the scoreboard."

Barrington scored 2 touchdowns in the first quarter, on a 63-yard run by senior Bryan Smith and then a 4-yard run from quarterback Peter Anderson.

In the second quarter, Conant took possession of the ball at its own 6-yard line and went on an extraordinary 27-play drive, but wound up turning the ball over on downs at the Barrington 11 thanks to some clutch plays on defense by the Broncos' Evan Roper and Evan Krueger.

"That drive was a testament to our kids' work ethic," Stortz said. "We unfortunately didn't get points, but we held the ball the entire quarter. I was proud of our kids on that drive."

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Barrington went on to score three more times to put the game out of reach.

Smith ran in again for his second touchdown, this time from 4 yards away. Junior Ben Cocoma caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Anderson, who also hit Jack Serrano with a 22-yard touchdown strike to give the 3-0 Broncos a five-touchdown lead.

Conant countered thereafter with two rushing scores by Ryan Kutella, the initial one coming from 17 yards out, and then another from 6 yards away.

Senior linebacker Justice Cromwell made a big fourth-down stop for the Broncos in the final quarter, negating another Conant drive and stopping the Cougars from closing the gap any further.

Smith finished with 186 yards on the ground for the Broncos, while classmate Anderson threw for 150 yards.

The Cougars spread the ball around in the rushing game as Kutella led the way with 17 rushes for 93 yards; Dominick Minninni had 20 carries for 54 yards; and Giuseppe Dugo gained 40 yards on 13 carries.

"Our kids keep coming out and fighting," said Stortz, "and they continue to get better. I like the attitude of all our guys. It's not necessarily where it needs to be yet, but it's getting better every day."

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