Panesis' return spurs Barrington over Schaumburg
Barrington's Evan Panesis knew the pressure was on. So, the senior running back took the pressure off.
Returning from an injury that forced him to miss his team's Mid-Suburban West loss to Hoffman Estates last week. Panesis returned to the lineup with gusto. He handled much of the offensive touches and rushed 22 times for 122 yards and a touchdown to help lead the Broncos past Schaumburg 28-12 in the Broncos' annual Saturday afternoon homecoming.
By being the workhorse in the Barrington offense, Panesis was able to shed much of the attention from Schaumburg. That made things much easier for junior quarterback Peyton Soske, who was making his first start for injured Bronco quarterback Harley Thompson.
"Our quarterback stepped up and the whole team stepped up and we played well," Panesis said. "Coach (Joe) Sanchez always talks about doing your job. When one guy goes down the next guy has to step up. I thought I stepped up pretty well today."
With Panesis running well, it opened up the field for Soske. He played well in his first start, going 10-of-18 for 139 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also rushed for 72 yards on 14 carries.
"I was a little nervous today," Soske said. "It was great once I got out there. I was really pumped. I prepared hard all week. I just took a deep breath before each play and made my reads."
Soske made a great read on his team's first series. On third-and-12 from the Schaumburg 44, Soske saw that wide receiver Ben Cocoma had slipped behind the coverage and tossed him a prefect pass that put the Broncos up 7-0.
Barrington (3-3, 1-1) made it 14-0 early in the second quarter. Panesis went around the left end, broke a tackle and then cut inside for a 26-yard touchdown run.
Schaumburg (2-4, 0-2) got back into the game with a pair of touchdowns before the end of the half.
DJ Wilson threw an11-yard swing pass to Omarion Jones to cut the margin to 14-6. But the Saxons missed the conversion pass.
On their next possession, Fabian Baez scored on a 22-yard run off a jet sweep to make it 14-12 with 1:11 left in the first half. But the Saxons fumbled on the conversion run and that is as close as they would get.
That's because the second half belonged to the Broncos. Barrington scored on its first two possessions of the second half, both on touchdown passes.
Soske threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Cocoma (5 receptions, 95 yards). He then tossed a 13-yarder to Connor Lee, who caught the ball in the back of the end zone after it was deflected by teammate Jack Serrano to make it 28-12.
"I was proud of the way the boys came out in the second half," Sanchez said. "Credit to Schaumburg how they came back. We could have easily wilted, but we didn't. We came out and made a statement on the defensive side and had them go three-and-out. Then our offense was able to get a short field and punch it in."
Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling said his team couldn't sustain the momentum it got before the end of the first half.
"I thought our kids fought their tails off in the second quarter," Stilling said. "Barrington did a nice job of staying after us in the second half. Unfortunately, we did not have a formidable response."