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Five Broncos scored touchdowns and it was a festive Homecoming for Montini, yet the visitors also had reason to walk off the field with their heads held high.
Montini knocked off IC Catholic Prep 38-21 Friday night in Lombard to stay perfect at 6-0 on the year. But the smaller Knights (3-3, 2-2 Suburban Christian Conference crossover) battled the perennial state champions hard for four quarters and left the field thinking that maybe they too can do something special in the postseason, provided they do indeed pick up at least two more wins and qualify for the Class 3A playoffs.
"If they get in they're going to make plenty of noise," Broncos coach Chris Andriano said of the Knights, who trailed 24-0 at the half but had success moving the ball against the strong Montini defense. "Our athletes are so fast that we were able to do some things against them, especially in the first half, but IC always plays hard."
After each team failed to score on its first possession, the Broncos (4-0 in the SCC) took a 7-0 lead after senior quarterback Alex Wills hitLeon Thornton III in stride with an 18-yard strike to the left side of the end zone. Mason Weissenhofer added a 33-yard field goal and it was 10-0 after one quarter.
Montini added second-quarter scores when Nicholas Italia ran in from 1 yard out and Tyler Tumpane broke off a 19-yard run as the hosts built a 24-0 lead at the break. The defense meanwhile, put heavy pressure on Knights quarterback Jack Copher, seemingly every time he dropped back to pass, and blanked IC despite 74 yards of hard running from Randy Leslie on 15 first-half carries.
"We came out and dominated the first half," said Thornton III, who had 7 catches for 87 yards and a score. "But there are some things we still need to work on so we can potentially play a perfect game down the stretch."
To the Knights' credit, the second half was a little tougher on the hosts as Copher led an option attack that picked up chunks of yards on the ground and enabled the IC offense to pick up a pair of touchdowns passes, a 10-yarder to Leslie in the third quarter and an 11-yarder to James Janowski in the fourth. A 55-yard interception return by sophomorRhashaun Epting gave IC its third score and made the final 38-21.
"Our kids are incredible and they fought for four quarters," Knights coach Bill Krefft said. "Montini's defense is the best defense we've seen so far this year. They are incredible on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense."
Freshman Prince Walker scored on a 50-yard run and center Frank Vosicky picked up another Broncos TD when he jumped on a loose ball in the end zone after Terrence Savain lost the ball while reaching for the goal line.