For the second consecutive season, Libertyville and Barrington produced a classic finish to an opening night high school football game.
Libertyville senior quarterback Jack Deichl’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Justin Guarnaccio, on a 4th and 12 play with 46 seconds left in regulation, propelled the visiting Wildcats to an improbable 24-20 comeback win.
After going just 2-for-3 in the first half, Deichl finished the game 18-for-21, with 221 yards and a touchdown.
It was also the first win for new Libertyville head coach Mike Jones.
“We didn’t change anything up really, we just started executing better in the second half,” Jones said. “This is a heck of a feeling to start the season this way. I mean, we came out and started throwing the ball a lot more as the game went on, but this win was just about our guys showing a lot of grit and determination.”
Trailing 20-3 at halftime, the Wildcats managed just three first downs the entire first half, while the Broncos pounded out 15 of them and were dominant on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
That changed immediately once the third quarter began. Libertyville needed just four plays and just over a minute to drive 82 yards to begin the second half, capped by a two-yard TD run by Connor Simpson, cutting Barrington’s lead to 20-10.
After forcing a Barrington punt, Libertyville struck again on the opening play of the fourth quarter. This time, senior Brian Swift found the end zone on a 12-yard run, cutting Barrington’s lead to just three, before the Wildcats took the lead for good with under a minute to play.
The Broncos drove deep into Wildcat territory late, but junior Daniel Kubiuk (13-for-24, 202 yards, two TD, INT) was picked off by senior defensive back Dan Tropple at the 10-yard line with 10 seconds to go.Senior receiver Andrew Matella (nine receptions, 133 yards, TD) also had a big game for Barrington in a losing effort.
“I think we can learn a lot from this game,” Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. “We did a lot of things right early, but like I told our guys, we have to play that way for four quarters. Libertyville deserves a lot of credit for how they battled back and didn’t quit. That was a heck of a football game. Now, we just need to learn from this and rebound next week.”