BARRINGTON — It has been five years since the Barrington football team last advanced past the first round of the playoffs. For coach Jose Sanchez, this is the fun part.
“The first [win] is always the hardest one,” Sanchez said. “Once you get the first one, anything can happen.”
The Broncos are making their ninth postseason appearance in 12 years under Sanchez, completing a turnaround this year after going 3-6 in 2012. Before Saturday’s 23-8 victory over Evanston in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs, Barrington’s last postseason win came in 2008, when it defeated St. Patrick and New Trier before losing to Maine South in the quarterfinals.
The Broncos will face Warren at 6 p.m. Saturday in Gurnee, and the Blue Devils will likely zero in on junior receiver Scotty Miller, who had three big touchdowns in the win over the Wildkits.
Miller and senior quarterback Daniel Kubiuk both said they quickly realized Saturday that they could take advantage of Evanston’s press coverage and exploit Miller’s speed on the outside.
The pairing, which had six touchdowns in the regular season, connected for scores of 35, 13 and 28 yards.
“We were trying to take advantage of some of the things [the Wildkits] were giving us on the edge,” Sanchez said. “Our kids did a great job. Obviously Danny and Scotty did some great things … and there was some great blocks on the perimeter. I’m just really proud of what our kids did.”
Miller said the excellent communication between receiver and quarterback Saturday was the result of hard work in practice. Both players take advantage of Miller’s speed — he finished sixth in the 200-meter dash at the state track and field meet last year — and Kubiuk’s ability to see the field.
Kubiuk has “definitely improved a lot,” Miller said. “He’s running the ball more and helping us move the offense that way. He’s better at scrambling and his balls are on target all the time now. He’s hitting us in stride. He’s just been playing really well right now.”
Kubiuk said his improvement is the result of Barrington’s offense playing better.
“Our offense as a whole is really gelling right now,” he said. “The line has improved a lot since the beginning and they are giving me time to get some looks. And our receivers are getting open. The coaches have been doing a great job giving us the tools each week to succeed.”
With a first-round victory under its belt, Barrington was feeling more confident as it started to look at film of Warren Monday.
“It’s exciting,” Miller said. “It was a big win for the program and the school. I think we’re all pumped up to see where we can go.”