Lewis Borsellino fired off a warning shot as Montini's postgame huddle broke Friday.
"No way do you get back to the final game playing like that," barked the Broncos' offensive coordinator.
On a damp evening in Lombard, the No. 2 Broncos alternated between sharp and sloppy, ultimately holding off a game Marmion challenge 30-22.
It didn't sit well with Broncos coach Chris Andriano.
"A very uninspired second half. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing, actually," said Andriano, whose team never trailed and led 21-7 at the half. "Our tackling, missed blocks, dropped passes. I gotta give Marmion's kids credit; they kept coming after us. It was a ballgame."
Maybe it's something about Marmion. Last year, the Cadets kept within 13-6 of Montini.
Marmion (1-4, 1-2 Suburban Christian Conference Blue) twice drew within a touchdown of Montini (4-1, 3-0) in the second half Friday. Charlie Faunce's 17-yard touchdown pass to Mike Montalbano and the ensuing two-point conversion pass made it 30-22 with 9:38 left. The Cadets forced a punt with the chance to tie, but a drive stalled at midfield.
Marmion never got it back, Montini running out the final 5:38.
"I'm really proud of the guys, the way we came back and fought and never gave up," Faunce said. "Sophomore year we came back from down 21-7. We were this close to it happening again."
When Montini didn't shoot itself in the foot, its offense clicked per usual.
Broncos quarterback Alex Wills, 29-of-39 passing for 258 yards and 3 touchdowns, led scores on Montini's first two drives. A 6-yard touchdown pass to Joey Borsellino got things started, and Dimitri Taylor took in a score from 11 yards out for a 14-0 lead.
Like last week against St. Francis, though, turnovers were a Broncos' bugaboo. Sam Breen's diving interception of Wills led to a 5-yard Brock Krueger to leaping Seth Sevenich touchdown pass, and later a Montini fumble set up Montalbano's second-effort 1-yard scoring run.
"We're so good at times, we're almost healthy," Andriano said, "and we got some real ability. But there's something missing. I don't know what it is, but we got to get to the bottom of it."
When challenged, Montini did have the answer to Marmion, at times in electrifying fashion.
Michael Dusek's 64-yard kick return after Marmion's first touchdown set up a Wills' touchdown and 21-7 lead.
Taylor, 23 carries for 121 yards, zig-zagged his way to a 36-yard run in leading to Wills' second short scoring throw to Borsellino for a 28-14 lead. Borsellino later made the "wow" play of the night, tipping the ball to himself in midair with a defender draped on him near the sideline for an acrobatic 37-yard reception.
Borsellino, still not at 100 percent playing on a sprained MCL, had 12 catches for 120 yards.
"We have so much potential on this team," Borsellino said. "When we play like we can, we look like a state championship team. But then we have those downfalls that we can't have if we want to make a deep playoff run."
Faunce completed 6 of 11 passes for 57 yards and ran for 69 for Marmion, which now must win out to have any shot at sniffing the playoffs. Remaining games against Aurora Christian and St. Francis will make that a chore.
"Being down 8 in the fourth quarter against a three-time state champion, it shows how we should be playing all season," Faunce said. "If we continue to play like this there's no reason we shouldn't make the playoffs."