AURORA – Step one in Montini’s season in complete.
The Broncos completed an undefeated regular season with a 47-0 win over Aurora Central Catholic last Friday. It was another dominant win for a team that has rarely been tested despite a schedule that included eight playoff teams and tied Providence Catholic for the most opponents’ wins (54) among postseason squads.
Now, the second season begins when Montini hosts Chicago Public League school Morgan Park in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Mustangs enter with a 5-4 record.
“Their record is a little deceiving because they lost to some very good teams and they’ve got a very, very athletic team,” Montini coach Chris Andriano said. “Their skill kids are as good as anybody we’ve seen, a lot of speed. They have the potential for a lot of big plays on both sides of the ball.”
Morgan Park lost to Thornton 34-0 in Week 1 and followed that up with a 49-8 loss to 8-1 Mt. Carmel, the defending state champ in Class 8A. They also lost to conference foes Robeson and Hubbard by one score in both games.
On paper, Montini shouldn’t have too much trouble. After all, the Broncos held six opponents to single digit points and scored more than 30 or more points seven times.
However, Morgan Park is a different style team than most of what Montini has seen this season. Andriano hopes the Broncos can minimize the skill players for the Mustangs while utilizing their own assets.
“I really feel that we have an advantage on them in the kicking game so we’re going to try to exploit that,” Andriano said. “I think we can be better than them up front so we’re going to make sure we’re running the ball and try to dominate them physically.
“The game should be up front in the trenches.”
If Montini gets past Morgan Park, as expected, the Class 5A draw offers the potential for many enticing matchups. Bremen or Marian Central await the winner of Montini’s game. Both teams met and lost to the Broncos in the playoffs last year, and any time Montini and Marian meet on the football field there is bound to be fireworks.
Two teams that took Montini to the wire in last fall’s postseason, Sycamore and Joliet Catholic, are also in the same half of the draw as the Broncos.
Montini 47, Aurora Central Catholic 0
Montini leaders • Alex Wills 11-for-13, 140 passing yards, 2 TDs • Tyler Tumpane 2 rushing TDs, receiving TD • Prince Walker rushing TD • Niko Italia rushing TD • Leon Thornton III rushing TD • Mike Maduko 47-yard interception return TD
Playoff opener: Morgan Park at Montini
When: 2 p.m. SaturdayWhere: 19W070 16th St., LombardRecords: No. 1 Montini 9-0; No. 16 Morgan Park 5-4Outlook: The real season starts now for the Broncos. After an impressive 9-0 regular season, none of it will matter if they don't win a fifth straight state title. The first postseason opponent is Morgan Park, which went 5-2 against Chicago Public League opposition and lost big to Thornton and Mt. Carmel in its first two games.