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- More from Marty Maciaszek
There had been close calls in the past and a homecoming game loss that cost Barrington a playoff berth in 2007.
So the Broncos wanted to deal with visiting Hoffman Estates swiftly and decisively in their Mid-Suburban West opener Saturday afternoon.
Consider it business taken care of for Barrington as it scored on its first play from scrimmage and enacted a running clock with a 41-point lead 72 seconds after halftime as it won its fourth straight game 44-6.
"Once we got the first couple of scores we didn't want to look back," said senior Dylan Zyzda, whose 36-yard punt return set up his 25-yard touchdown catch from Mark Bennett for the Broncos' first score. "We wanted to get on them early."
And the Broncos (4-1, 1-0) lived up to their "Finish the Fight" slogan with an early knockout.
The first two of 3 touchdown runs by Chase Murdock of 48 and 34 yards made it 20-0 after a quarter despite 65 yards in Barrington penalties. Murdock's 47-yard run on the first play of the second half made it 34-0 and ended a 161-yard day on just 7 carries.
"We came out strong right away," said Barrington coach Joe Sanchez. "We were able to take advantage of big plays early and the defense did a great job."
Bennett hit his first 6 passes for 94 yards with a 27-yard score to Sam Handler in the second quarter. Thanks to front men Dan Voltz, Josh Watkins, Jackson Keeler, Akeel Abdelhaldi, Lee Conforti and Justin Cooper, subbing for the injured Mason Darrow (stress fracture in foot), the Broncos rolled up 376 yards of offense.
"We feel Mark is getting better every game," said Zyzda, who caught 3 passes for 44 yards. "The line is providing protection so he's able to make the deep pass."
Andrew Merkle returned a fumble 7 yards on a botched punt snap to make it 41-0 and Daniel Kubiuk finished the Barrington scoring with a field goal.
But Barrington couldn't just put it on cruise control going into next Friday's big MSL West matchup at Palatine.
On the second Hoffman (0-5, 0-1) possession, quarterback Jordan Hudak and running back Alex Proskey led a march from its 32 to the Barrington 10 behind Kyle Hendle, Jimmy Wood, Jake Voegtle, Mike Lichtenberger and John Reeves.
But a chance to tie the game was thwarted by its season-long nemesis on linebacker Aaron Foley's interception.
"We were moving the ball great but we just have to limit the mistakes we had," Hendle said.
"That's been the story of our season," said Hoffman coach Bill Helzer after 3 turnovers increased its five-game total to 22. "With a team like that you can't miss chances early in the game and they didn't miss chances.
"In our opinion we left 17 points on the field in the first half."
A sack by Sean Caffe and Ben Calamari was pretty appetizing to the Broncos as it helped thwart one drive into their territory. Another Caffe sack led to a missed field goal just before the end of the half.
Hoffman did get on the board with 2:49 left in the third when Hudak (129 yards passing, 96 rushing) capped a 76-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
But the Broncos had already taken care of their business to get ready for a rugged and wide-open MSL West stretch run.
"We had been saying this (Hoffman) was a big game all week and if we win this one, we feel it will be a huge game next week," Zyzda said. "It will take a good effort next week. Palatine is a great team but I think we can pull it off."