HOOVER, Ala. – Football season hasn’t even started, but Montini already has logged some miles.
The Broncos headed to Hoover, Ala., for the National Select 7-on-7 Championships last weekend. Montini qualified for the event by winning the Red Grange Classic in late June at Wheaton Warrenville South and was one of 32 teams to take part in the showcase.
Montini, along with another area team in Wheaton North, took on teams from all over the country in one-hand touch 7-on-7 football. Teams from 14 states descended upon Hoover, and Montini faced teams from seven different states.
The trip included a tour of the University of Alabama’s school and athletic facilities, home to the two-time defending national champion.
“It was a great experience," said Montini coach Chris Andriano. "It was very very worthwhile. We would do it again if we could get the chance.”
When the Broncos got on the field they struggled to a 1-4-2 record in pool play on July 24 after tying the first two games. Since all 32 teams made the bracket play the next day, Montini had a second shot and entered with the No. 26 seed.
The Broncos took advantage of that clean slate and won their first two bracket games. Montini beat Foley (Ala.), 27-14, and Fulton (Tenn.), 27-5, to advance to the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals, Montini lost to North Cobb (Ga.), 21-11, and went to the loser’s bracket where they lost to O. Perry Walker (La.), 23-14.
“Overall I thought it was a great experience," Andriano said. "We would have hoped to do a little bit better.
“We did very well I thought the second day when we got to the actual tournament. In the pool play we didn't play very well. We played some really good teams that were a little more advanced than us.”
Montini senior linebacker Nile Sykes, a transfer from Oak Park-River Forest receiving Division I offers, and senior wide receiver/defensive back Derrick Curry made the first team all-tournament team.