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updated: 10/21/2016 11:50 PM

Montini makes it five in a row

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  • Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comJoe Spivak of Montini football.

    Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comJoe Spivak of Montini football.

 
By Bill Stone
Daily Herald Correspondent

As a four-year varsity player -- three as a two-way starter -- what hadn't senior lineman Joe Spivak accomplished as a Montini football player before Friday?

"I try to call myself the Swiss Army Knife," Spivak said.

His smile held the answer.

The 6-foot-1, 295-pound Spivak, who usually plays right guard, moved to fullback and had a 4-yard gain to the 7-yard line in the third quarter.

"That was my first carry ever. Ever," Spivak said. "When they said it (was coming), I got a little excited, got a little nervous. I'll see it on the film, but I was ready for it."

The Broncos celebrated their seniors and clinched a 24th consecutive berth in the state playoffs with a 44-0 Senior Night and Chicago Catholic Green victory over St. Francis in Lombard.

Montini (6-3, 3-1), once sitting at 1-3, has won five straight.

"Definitely a lot of momentum (for the playoffs)," Spivak said. "I'd say honestly just persistence (helped us). There was a little bit of a learning curve for some of our younger guys. We practiced until it was perfect and that was when we turned it around."

Junior Matt Morrissey, the first of three Montini quarterbacks, threw for 217 yards with touchdowns to Christian Pirog, Mitch West, Tommy Morrissey, his senior brother, and Matt Quaglia for 15, 54, 25 and 7 yards, respectively.

Quarterback Nick Orlando had the second TD in the first quarter on a 15-yard run. Michael Cooney, who entered the game with 3 field goals this season, kicked three more of 32, 19 and a season-best 46 yards in the final two minutes.

"We had a good, solid game tonight, played fast, tough up front. Our kicker looked good," said Montini coach Chris Andriano, who earned his 299th victory in his 38th season with the Broncos.

"We've improved as the season's gone. And the kids are playing with a lot of confidence so we're ready to make a run at it. We were reeling (at 1-3), a few injuries. Some guys are back now."

That includes senior standout running back Prince Walker. He rushed for 32 yards and caught 3 passes for a team-best 68 yards. Walker, sidelined by a torn left quad, previously played only briefly in Week 3.

"I'm feeling great. It's just amazing to be back with my team," Walker said. "I've been working so hard just to get back for this moment and I'm so happy that I have."

St. Francis (1-8, 0-4) penetrated Montini territory on back-to-back drives in the second quarter but never got inside the 40.

First-year coach Joe Lepsche, the Spartans' third coach in four seasons, said goodbye to 18 seniors but also returns several underclassmen who made significant contributions.

"We had a lot, a ton of sophomores playing," Lepsche said. "Our seniors played to the best of their abilities. I appreciate every single one of them. It was a tough year. We fought through some injuries, fought through numbers, coaching changes, with a lot of kids that didn't know the way."

Defensively, Montini's Jackson Bruscianelli and Brendan Rauen recovered third-quarter fumbles at the St. Francis 25 and 35 that contributed to three scores on three possessions and a 41-0 lead.

Spivak had a sack, another tackle for loss and a hurry that resulted in an intentional grounding penalty.

"You talk about guys from the 60s who played both ways and did everything that (Spivak) does. He's a throwback to that and he's so tough. I love that kid," Andriano said. "He's a special player. For a lineman, you don't get many players like that. He's pure muscle. You can't move him and he moves people on offense."

Montini senior running back Will Smith remains out with a thumb injury but could return if the Broncos win their playoff opener. Another concern is offensive right tackle Joseph Ciesla, who reinjured his kneecap in the third quarter.

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