Montini goal-line stand stops St. Francis

  • Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.com Ben Trimble of St. Francis, left, with the ball as Jordan Gorrell of Montini moves in for the tackle during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

    Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.com Ben Trimble of St. Francis, left, with the ball as Jordan Gorrell of Montini moves in for the tackle during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

  • Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comNick Donati, right, of St. Francis, moves in to tackle Anthony Taylor, left of Montini duirng playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

    Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comNick Donati, right, of St. Francis, moves in to tackle Anthony Taylor, left of Montini duirng playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

  • Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comMontini quarterback Matt Westerkamp reacts after making a touchdown in the second quarter against St. Francis during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

    Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comMontini quarterback Matt Westerkamp reacts after making a touchdown in the second quarter against St. Francis during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

  • Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comAnthony Taylor, left and Joseph Borsellino, right of Montini celebrate a touchdown by Taylor in the first half during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

    Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comAnthony Taylor, left and Joseph Borsellino, right of Montini celebrate a touchdown by Taylor in the first half during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

  • Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comJack Petrando of St. Francis, left, moves in to tackle Frank Baer of Montini, right, during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

    Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comJack Petrando of St. Francis, left, moves in to tackle Frank Baer of Montini, right, during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

  • Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comBob MIller of St. Francis tries to move through Montini defense during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

    Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comBob MIller of St. Francis tries to move through Montini defense during playoff football Saturday in Lombard.

 
By James Taylor
Updated 10/30/2010 10:52 PM

Playing each other for the sixth time in three years, it seemed like fate that the opening-round Class 5A game between Suburban Christian Conference rivals Montini and St. Francis came down to the wire Saturday afternoon in Lombard.

"Six times in three years we've played each other, and it's hard to play such a quality team so early because the winner of this game could go a long way," Montini coach Chris Andriano said. "This could've been a semifinal game."

 

A late turnover by the Spartans and subsequent goal-line stand by the Broncos' defense sealed the hard-fought 21-14 victory for Montini.

St. Francis (6-4) came off the bus running, which led to a 16-play opening drive touchdown that chewed up just less than eight minutes to stake the Spartans to a 7-0 lead. Running back Bobby Miller capped off the opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown plunge to set the offensive tone for St. Francis.

Montini (8-2) answered with their own opening-drive touchdown as quarterback Matt Westerkamp ran it in from a yard out to knot the game at 7-7 after one quarter.

The Spartans responded with another drive deep into Broncos' territory, but it stalled as Frank Baer intercepted a pass in the end zone to keep the game tied.

Montini then put together an 80-yard drive, culminating with an Anthony Taylor 7-yard touchdown catch to put the Broncos ahead 14-7 at the half.

St. Francis kept the see-saw affair going when it opened the second half with a 19-play drive that ended with another Miller touchdown run to tie the game at 14-14 as the fourth quarter began.

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"We knew they could score a lot of points, so we wanted to keep the ball on the ground, then mix it up in the air," St. Francis junior quarterback Nick Donati said. "We did a good job of mixing up the outside sweep with some play action, but we came up a little short. It's such a great rivalry, and I can't wait until next year."

The game remained tied until St. Francis committed a back-breaking turnover deep in its own territory with just 3:28 to play in the fourth quarter. Quinn Adams scooped up a St. Francis fumble at the Spartans' 11-yard line, which set up another Westerkamp touchdown scamper to give Montini a 21-14 lead with just 2:37 left to play.

The Spartans would not go down without a fight. They marched all the way to the Broncos' 3-yard line with 2.8 seconds left. The Broncos' defense rose to the occasion one final time as it stuffed a fourth-down attempt to secure the victory.

"Our defense came up huge for us, it was an incredible back-and-forth game and we came out on top," Matt Westerkamp said. "When we play each other it always seems to be a great game."

Coach Andriano echoed his quarterback's sentiments.

"They have an excellent team and their coaches do such a great job," Andriano said. "Their offense really did control the ball and the clock; they had a great game plan and executed it very well. If we didn't get that turnover at the end, it's an overtime game."