Montini's inauspicious start to its Class 5A football playoff opener required a system reboot.
Bremen cornerback Corey Dalton intercepted the Broncos' first pass and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. Dalton intercepted the Broncos' third pass, an identical out pattern to Montini's sideline.
Next time Montini's offense came out senior receiver Joey Borsellino took the direct snap from center Patrick Strzempek. Two plays later in the "Joecat" formation, Borsellino ran behind right guard Anthony Ferraro, spun on contact and scored a 12-yard touchdown to start things anew.
The ship righted, No. 3 seed Montini (8-2) proceeded to beat No. 14 Bremen 54-13 on Saturday in Lombard. The three-time defending 5A champion advances to play No. 6 Sycamore.
"We started off slow," said Borsellino, who ran for 34 yards and caught 5 passes for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns. "They had a big pick-6 to start the game. But we never quit and that's what Montini's all about. We're always in the game and we always know that."
Dalton's touchdown at 9:08 of the first quarter triggered 35 unanswered points by Montini to stun the Braves (5-5).
Borsellino scored on that 12-yarder and caught a 16-yard Mark Gorogianis touchdown pass for a 14-7 lead after a quarter.
Montini running back Dimitri Taylor, who finished with 152 yards rushing, scored on touchdown runs of 11 and 57 yards. Gorogianis' 49-yard run made the score 35-7 at 5:07 of the second quarter. He ran for 129 yards on just 9 carries.
"We had to make a change, we made a change," said Montini coach Chris Andriano. "That helped settle us down. We went to more of a running game and it ended up being a good decision."
Defensively, Montini's task was to contain 235-pound running back Devonta Wilson, who had run for 1,157 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Broncos held him to 7 yards on 10 carries, though Wilson caught 8 passes from Tyler Banovich for 49 yards.
"Coach Boo (defensive coordinator Mike Bukovsky) just harped on us this whole week, stay hungry and keep our pursuit angles correct," said Montini outside linebacker Mike Maduko, who praised defensive ends Fred Beaugard and Dylan Thompson for funneling Wilson inside.
Starting quarterback Alex Wills returned to hit Borsellino on a 27-yard touchdown pass. The game also was notable for Andrew Harte's program-record 4 field goals, of 45, 35, 30 and 20 yards, one more than Larry Diedrick's 3 field goals in a 1981 game.
"I'm lucky," Harte said. "The offensive coordinator wanted to go for it when it was down on the 3, but I said, 'C'mon, coach.' He didn't even think about it, he's like, 'Yeah, field goal.'"