On most nights Montini senior Tucker Mucha focuses his game on trying to knock down ball carriers. But on Friday against Wheaton Academy, he did most of his damage running with the ball himself.
Filling in for injured starter Dimitri Taylor, Mucha ran for 183 yards and a touchdown as the Broncos (2-1, 1-0 Suburban Christian Blue) shook off a slow start to defeat the visiting Warriors 35-0 in Lombard.
Montini, playing without a trio of offensive leaders, led just 8-0 at the half before scoring two touchdowns in each quarter after the intermission to win going away. Mucha had 41 yards on his first carry of the second half and tallied 125 of his personal-best yards over the final two quarters.
"We came out flat today, but we knew we had to step it up in the second half," said Mucha, who had a 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. "I'm a strong safety, but I love to play running back. I was stepping in for Dimitri, but he'll be back next week against St. Francis."
The Broncos scored on their opening drive following a punt by the Warriors. With junior James Barron under center and Mucha gaining 31 yards on his first two carries, Montini opened the scoring with an 8-yard pass from Barron to Michael Dusek.
But the Warriors (0-3, 0-1 Suburban Christian Gold), even without four injured two-way starters, played the three-time defending champs tough for two quarters behind the strong play of quarterback Nate Martinez and the great hands of Matthew Lindsay. Lindsay picked off pass in the first half and finished the night with 8 grabs for 110 yards on offense.
"We loved what we saw from the kids this week and it showed tonight as well," Wheaton Academy coach T.J. Ragan said. "Montini is a great team that's well-coached, and I'm proud of the way our kids played them."
Regular starting quarterback Alex Wills, who was knocked out of last week's loss, returned to play much of the second and third quarters for the Broncos, and he finished 9 of 13 for 92 yards including a 2-yard TD pass to Tyler Tumpane. Barron went 8 of 12 for 65 yards and a pair of scores.
"They tested us and played a real good game," Broncos coach Chris Andriano said. "They played really well in the first half, and their quarterback played with a lot of courage. We came at him hard all night, and he kept making plays."
Andriano is expecting Taylor back next week along with a couple other banged up starters, but it's nice to have a backup like Mucha around when he's needed.
"Tucker's just a great athlete and he's a tremendous kid who loves to play," he said. "He's a safety for us, but when we put him in there (at running back) we don't really lose too much at all."