Thursday, October 28, 2010

What do Henry Paulson...

...Gary Fencik,

and Terry Moran have in common?

That's right! They are all graduates of Barrington High School, Glenbrook South's first-round opponent Saturday night. (Paulson went on to play football at some college out East -- I forget which one.)

The Broncos (7-2), who compete in the Mid-Suburban Conference, are coached by Joe Sanchez. Although Barrington had a disappointing 2009, going 3-6, Sanchez was hoping to lead the Broncos to the playoffs for the second time in three years and the seventh since joining the program.

Besides a solid defense, the Broncos were rebuilding their traditionally strong offensive line, anchored by 6'4", 305-pound senior Jimmy Kristof and 6'5", 290-pound junior Dan Voltz. In the backfield, Chase Murdock (above) and Nico Martinez were developing into talented, if injury-prone, running backs. (Murdock, who gained over 1,000 yards this season for the second year in a row, has been compared by some to Barrington legend Dan Pohlman.)

There was only one piece of the puzzle missing: quarterback. How would Sanchez ever fill the gaping hole left by last year's MVP, Terrance Terry, who accounted for 3,400 all-purpose yards and 20 touchdowns? It seemed no one was ready to step up.

Enter Matt LeMire (above). The Broncos' starting quarterback transferred to Barrington for his senior year without any advance notice. Over the summer, LeMire went to check out the school while the team was lifting weights and introduced himself.

"I came by and the players were nice," LeMire recalled. "They accepted me."

Perhaps LeMire would have believed that he would be the last person to start for the Broncos in the season opener, just a few months after moving. LeMire never even started for his previous school, Canutillo High School in El Paso, Texas. That school opened in 1996 and had only 1,523 students last year. Barrington, in contrast, opened its doors in 1949 and enrolls over 3,000.

It was all coming together for Coach Sanchez.

The Broncos now face the Titans (5-4) for the first time as Class 8A first-round opponents. Barrington will need to stop senior running back John Strickland (above), arguably the team's MVP. Not only is Strickland GBS's leading rusher, he also starts at defensive back.

Saturday's victor will play the winner of the Palatine-Glenbard North contest.

Barrington's season in a nutshell:

Barrington 41, Libertyville 28
Barrington 30, Elk Grove 23 (OT)
Barrington 35, Hersey 14
Barrington 24, Wheeling 7
Barrington 49, Conant 21
Barrington 34, Schaumburg 32
Barrington 17, Hoffman Estates 6
Fremd 26, Barrington 12
Palatine 21, Barrington 10

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