Barrington played a virtually perfect game for most of three quarters in establishing a two-touchdown advantage over favored and undefeated Glenbard West.
One play changed everything.
Glenbard West star running back Sam Brodner broke around the right sideline for a 41-yard touchdown. Barrington immediately saw its lead slip away. “Athletics and momentum are funny,” Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. “They got it there and we couldn’t get it back.”
Brodner rushed for 173 yards and scored two touchdowns 91 seconds apart in the third quarter as the No. 2 Hilltoppers rallied for the 28-21 victory in a Class 8A quarterfinal Saturday afternoon in Glen Ellyn.
Glenbard West (12-0) advanced to next week’s semifinals against top-ranked Stevenson.
Brodner altered the narrative as the surging Broncos (10-2) parlayed an opportunistic defense and the brilliant all-around play of junior quarterback Johnny Davidson to seize the stunning 21-7 lead at the break.
Davidson dissected the normally impenetrable Hitters defense with nearly 300 total yards. He completed 12 of 13 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns and added 73 yards rushing. Glenbard West entered the game not having conceded more than 15 points in a game.
Davidson connected with wide out Scotty Miller on a 61-yard touchdown pass that broke a 7-all deadlock and threw a 40-yard touchdown to Mitchell Pfeiffer late in the second quarter. Defensive end Jason Harris intercepted a deflected pass in the end zone for the Broncos’ opening score.
Brodner took charge late in the third quarter with the 41-yard touchdown on the Hitters’ trademark jet sweep. On the ensuing kickoff, special teams standout Jeremy Pope recovered a Barrington fumble on the short kick at the Broncos’ 27-yard line.
Three plays later, Brodner punished Barrington on a 22-yard sweep on the left side with just over a minute to play in the third quarter. “That is not normally the way we start,” Brodner said. “We have been down before this year but not like that.
“We came out in the second half and executed and ran the plays the way we are supposed to.”
After lineman Nico Gagliano recorded consecutive sacks of Davidson, Glenbard West engineered the game-winning drive by senior quarterback Kyle Kramer, who shook off three first-half interceptions to complete the comeback.
Two plays after Brodner went off tackle for eight yards on fourth down, Kramer threw a backside screen that running back Donahvon Vaughn finished for a 20-yard touchdown burst with 6:43 remaining.
“I didn’t get rattled by the interceptions,” Kramer said. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. “I knew there were people dependent on me to help the team come back.”
Davidson marched the Broncos to the Hitters’ 29-yard line. Miller was ruled out of bounds on a long pass that marked the only incompletion by Davidson. One play later, a jarring hit on an inside run caused a Davidson fumble that Glenbard West lineman Declan Ryan recovered.
“Give credit to [Glenbard West],” Sanchez said. “They played very well in the second half, made a few more plays than we did and we were not able to finish on plays the way we did in the first half.”