Johnny Davidson enjoys smashing debut with Barrington

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No matter what happens in the football career of Barrington junior Johnny Davidson, he will always remember his first play as a starting varsity quarterback.

Barrington’s first offensive possession started at its 35-yard line against Jacobs Friday. Standing in the shotgun, Davidson took the snap from senior center Matt Reiser. He quickly threw the ball to the left side of the field to senior wideout Scotty Miller.

Miller, a state medalist in the 100-meter dash, juked past two defenders and sprinted 50 yards for a touchdown.

“He saw we had numbers on the edge. [Davidson] made a great read,” Miller said. “After that I was like, ‘This kid’s pretty good.’ ”

Miller and his Broncos teammates have known Davidson is good for some time now. He outplayed his colleagues in summer workouts to earn the job. But football fields are littered with practice hotshots who never transition to the games that matter.

For one night — a 37-0 Barrington blowout — Davidson validated the faith put in him by Barrington coaches.

“He ran the offense very well and did a lot of good things. I was impressed with his demeanor,” coach Joe Sanchez said of his quarterback’s 12-of-16 passing, 244 yards and three touchdowns. “Johnny’s put a lot of time in to get himself ready to be prepared for the opportunity.”

Davidson’s place became official on Aug. 18. In a meeting with Sanchez and offensive coaches Pat Wire and Todd Kuklinski, Davidson was told the quarterback job was his. During a lunch break Aug. 25, Davidson met with Wire in the coach’s teaching classroom on campus.The meeting was designed to get Davidson comfortable with his new role

“We drew up and ranked the plays and what we thought they [Jacobs] would do [on defense],” Davidson said. “It was nice to know what we were doing, to be prepared early rather than start late.”

Davidson’s size (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) is not a distinguishing feature. He pulled away with his decision-making and accuracy. It doesn’t hurt that Barrington has four wide receivers — Miller and seniors Dylan Bingham, Mitch Pfeiffer and Matt Moran — who can get separation from defenders off the line of scrimmage.

Coaches said Davidson can exploit those one-on-one matchups by delivering the ball on target. Davidson’s other two touchdowns were to Pfeiffer (67 yards and 32 yards). The first was similar to Miller’s touchdown in that it came on a screen designed to give Pfeiffer a shot at yards after the catch.

“It’s really great knowing you can depend on those guys. Even if I make a bad throw or a bad read, they will do what they can to make the catch,” Davidson said.

Barrington’s first-time quarterback made all right reads on opening night. His completion percentage (80 percent) and yards per attempt (15.25) were spectacular. But Sanchez was quick to point out that although Davidson will start Friday against Elk Grove, his sterling statistics are a small sample.

“We are constantly evaluating what gives us the best chance to be successful,” Sanchez said. “What you did yesterday was great, but it doesn’t mean anything today.”

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