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Montini enters the 2013 season as the favorite to win what would be a fifth straight Class 5A championship. In Illinois the only loftier mark is former nemesis Driscoll's seven straight titles.
"So far we're off to a great start, and we'll let this senior class make their own history," said Montini's Hall of Fame coach, Chris Andriano.
What the Broncos lack in returning starters ó four on defense, three on offense ó they make up in quality.
Defensive end Dylan Thompson, committed to Ohio State, made 92 tackles with 19 for loss and 7.5 sacks. Linebacker Nile Sykes, a transfer with 12 sacks in six games at Oak Park, has 10 Division I offers. Thompson and Sykes are Nos. 14 and 19, respectively, in the Class of 2014 as rated by "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran of Rivals.com.
Speedy linebacker Mike Maduko led Montini with 136 tackles last season. Bulldozer defensive tackle Edgar Ruano's 87 tackles followed only Maduko and Thompson.
This may end up among Montini's best defenses ever.
With Lewis Borsellino following his son Joey at Western Michigan, Broncos quarterback Alex Wills will work the spread offense with new offensive coordinator Robert Aurelio. Wills triumphed over growing pains to complete 64 percent of his passes for 1,850 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Besides offensive lineman Anthony Ferraro and receiver Tyler Tumpane, that's the bulk of Montini's returning front-tier experience. Offensive line, the running back spot and the receiving corps were depleted by graduation. Replacements are rampant from another hungry batch of players. Last year's sophomores went 9-0.
Tight end Matt Brachmann, cornerback Derrick Curry, 4.5 sprinter Leon Thornton III, two-way lineman Grant Branch, Ohio transfer defensive end Eric Kibbey, running back Niko Italia and receiver Connor Costello are among many eager to add to Montini history.
"They've been very focused and very, very hardworking this whole off-season," Andriano said. "The Drive for Five is something they kind of came up with, and they're definitely ready to try to defend the title."
Coach: Chris Andriano (35th year, 256-119).
2012 record: 12-2, 6-1, tied for second in the Suburban Christian Blue.
Top players: Josh Belt (DB, 5-10, 175, sr.), Derrick Curry (DB, 5-10, 175, sr.), Anthony Ferraro (OL, 5-11, 230, sr.), Eric Kibbey (DL, 6-2, 220, jr.), Mike Maduko (LB, 5-10, 190, sr.), Edgar Ruano (DL, 6-2, 250, sr.), Nile Sykes (LB, 6-3, 225, sr.), Dylan Thompson (DL, 6-5, 275, sr.), Tyler Tumpane (WR, 6-0, 185, sr.), Alex Wills (QB, 6-1, 195, sr.),
Fri, 8/30 Maine South at Montini 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 9/7 Montini at East St. Louis 6 p.m.
Fri, 9/13 Montini at Wheaton Academy 7 p.m.
Fri, 9/20 St. Francis at Montini 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 9/27 Montini at Marmion Academy 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/4 IC Catholic Prep at Montini 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/11 Marian Central at Montini 7:30 p.m.
Sat, 10/19 Montini at Aurora Christian 7 p.m.
Fri, 10/25 Montini at Aurora Central Catholic 7:30 p.m.