BARRINGTON – Three Plainfield South first-quarter turnovers turned into 17 Barrington first-quarter points.
The numbers tell the story of South’s 41-12 Class 8A playoff loss Saturday to Barrington. After the Cougars fumbled on their first possession, the Mid-Suburban West champion Broncos responded with Kaivon Marodi’s 26-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
On the next Cougars series, South junior quarterback Jackson Horwath was intercepted, leading to a 31-yard scoring strike from Johnny Davidson to Logan Moews as Barrington (9-1) took a 10-0 lead. A bad snap on a Cougars punt gave Barrington ball at the 11 and Davidson hit Jake Zyzda from 12 yards out to make it 17-0 late in the first quarter.
The Cougars (5-5) never could recover from the opening shock, to the disappointment of the large but rain-drenched contingent from Plainfield South that traveled up Route 59 to support their team.
With 9:26 left in the half, the Davidson-Zyzda combo struck from 12 yards out for a 24-0 lead. Marodi added a 27-yard field goal to make it 27-0.
Horwath hooked up with South senior Austin Deal (five catches, 85 yards, touchdown) on a 52-yard scoring strike to get the Cougars on the scoreboard. Deal electrified the crowd, tight-roping down the sideline to make it 27-6 at halftime.
“I felt happy to get us on the board,” Deal said. “We really felt that the score would give us the confidence to come back. I’m really disappointed that we weren’t able to. We played our hearts out. It really hurts to have our season end.”
Davidson threw his fourth and fifth TD passes in the third quarter. After entering with 1,866 yards, 27 touchdowns and two interceptions, he threw for 266 yards and suffered his third and fourth picks as the Cougars’ Mitchell Ganassin and Kevin Valentine intercepted.
With 2:41 left, Howarth went in from the 2 to conclude the scoring. Howarth, who was replacing injured junior quarterback Nick Deppe, completed 12 of his 27 passes for 141 yards and the touchdown.
Davidson was sacked four times by the Cougars and held to minus-6 yards rushing on 12 carries. Cougars junior linebackers Nick and Jake Portz both had 13 tackles and two sacks.
“All of my individual stats are meaningless compared to my team,” Jake Portz said. “I wish I could have played better for our seniors. I fell so bad for them. I can’t wait for next season.”
“My teammates are the best in the state and we really played hard tonight,” Nick Portz said. “We had an outstanding season, playing for the conference championship, we beat Plainfield North for the third straight season. It was a great year.”
“I told the kids I am so proud of them for their effort against a fine Barrington team,” South Ken Bublitz said. “This team played for the conference championship when early on we didn’t think we could ever be in that position. The turnovers in the first quarter killed us, but we battled them after that.
“Nick and Jake Portz and Danny Saracco were our leaders on defense all season and played outstanding tonight. Again, I am so proud of what we accomplished.”