Barrington’s varsity football team has played a total of 12 quarters this season.
In six of those quarters, the Broncos have a allowed a total of just nine points, looking dominant in the process. They allowed three points in the first half of their season opener against Libertyville, and just six more last week — a 42-6 romp over Prospect.
That’s the same Prospect club that was averaging 48.5 points per game prior to facing Barrington.
“I’ve definitely seen flashes of just how good this defense can be,” Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said.
The trouble is, in the other six quarters, Barrington’s defense has been scorched for 62 points. That’s understandable when you consider that on defense, the Broncos have just five seniors in their starting lineup. And of those five, just two came into the year with any varsity experience at all.
“The difference between what we did in the six good quarters and the six bad ones is simple,” Sanchez said. “To be perfectly honest, we’re a young defense, and we’re maturing. We’ve got guys that are still learning to play varsity football. They did some great things in our first game, struggled in Week 2, but then took a huge step last week against an excellent offense.
“When you go back and look at the film, there have been a lot of things we did really well. … We just hadn’t had a chance to string it all together until recently.”
The Broncos’ first line of defense in their 3-4 system includes three senior defensive linemen — August Anderson (5-foot-7, 195 pounds), Chris Van Kampen (6-foot-3, 270) and Ben Calamari (6-foot-4, 245). It’s a scheme that allows for a great deal of creativity when it comes to play calling.
“Having two outside linebackers for each outside gap, that gives us a much better ability to contain specific areas,” Van Kampen said. “It makes it a lot easier for us to force plays to the inside. And when the linebackers are able to do that, it makes the job we do up front that much more important. We have to stay extremely disciplined.”
In the Week 1 loss to Libertyville, the Broncos blew a 17-point lead despite allowing just three first downs the entire opening half. They were then stunned on a last-minute 31-yard touchdown pass that wound up being the difference in the game. Their defensive troubles lingered the following week as they allowed 41 points in a loss at Rolling Meadows. Yet instead of hanging their heads, Barrington’s defense rebounded to dominate Prospect last Friday.
“I think what we did last week, especially after the difficulty we had the last game and a half prior to that, was huge,” Anderson said. “We could’ve hung our heads, but we didn’t.”
“It says everything about our character as a group,” Calamari added. “We’ve got a bunch of guys out there who aren’t gonna give up, are gonna keep fighting, and are hungry to improve each time we step on the field.”
If not for a bit of bad luck, the Broncos would have a 2-1 overall record instead of being 1-2. This week, the defense will be presented with some unique challenges when Barrington faces Buffalo Grove’s triple-option offense in a Mid-Suburban Conference crossover matchup.
“We’re gonna have to be more disciplined than ever this week,” Sanchez said. “Because what option teams are banking on is guys starting to cheat, and not following through with their responsibilities defensively. When you see big plays from that kind of offense, it’s typically because one guy on the other side of the ball didn’t do what they were supposed to. They didn’t stay on the fullback, or the quarterback, or the pitch. We have to find a way to contain that.” ~.