PALATINE — Whenever Barrington needed a big play, it somehow found a way to make one happen en route to a 33-28 win over Fremd on Friday night.
Both the defense and offense delivered and helped the Broncos bounce back after suffering their first defeat of the season to Palatine last week. Barrington finished the regular season 8-1 and earned a second-place finish in the Mid-Suburban West.
But Friday’s thrilling, back-and-forth win could help the Broncos gain some momentum as the postseason begins.
“We needed to respond after last week,” coach Joe Sanchez said. “The big thing for us all week was being resilient and coming back. Our coaches and players both did a good job of that.”
The Broncos started off fast, needing just five plays on an opening drive that resulted in a Johnny Davidson 14-yard touchdown run. The drive took just 90 seconds and already Barrington’s offense was in full form and looking like it was going to dominate all night. But Fremd (6-3, 3-2) responded late in the first quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run by Patrick McMahon, the first of three touchdowns for the senior fullback.
With just under two minutes left in the first half and the score tied at 14-14, Barrington’s defense was called on to make a stand. The Vikings started with good field position at Barrington’s 24-yard line, but the Broncos defense got a key sack on third down and the drive resulted in a missed field goal.
Then Barrington answered on the offensive side.
Davidson hit Mitchell Pfieffer, who was streaking down the middle of the field, for an 80-yard touchdown and the response Barrington needed.
“The defense making that stop really motivated us,” Davidson said. “We just feed off of each others’ momentum and it was just an overall great team effort.”
Barrington was tested right away in the second half as the Vikings marched down the field and chewed up nearly six minutes of clock on their opening drive. Another McMahon touchdown gave the Vikings a brief 21-20 lead, but back came Barrington. A quick drive that resulted in a Dumaso Mkwananzi 5-yard run gave the Broncos a 26-21 lead.
The Broncos’ defense held Fremd on its next three drives and Davidson connected with Pfeiffer on a 50-yard touchdown pass that ultimately sealed the win.
“We came out and fought as hard as we could,” Davidson said. “The team just did an unbelievable job tonight and we came out with a big win.”
Davidson finished with 268 yards passing and four total touchdowns. He also eclipsed the 2,000-yard passing mark this season.
It was Barrington’s first win at Fremd since 2004. More importantly, it got the Broncos back in the win column just in time for the playoffs.
“This was a playoff-like game and I’m proud of our kids,” Sanchez said. “This gives an opportunity to have a home game in the first round. It was no guarantee, and now it’s nice being home for the first one.”