Montini keeps CCL Blue title hopes alive
With a shot to play for a league championship a possibility in Week 9, unbeaten Montini first had to survive a trip to Class 6A power Providence Catholic on Friday night in New Lenox.
Despite a long opening drive that led to a Celtics field goal and an early 3-0 lead, Montini proved more than up to the task. The Broncos answered with three touchdowns in the first half and added a fourth TD in the third quarter en route to an impressive 27-3 win. The 8-0 Broncos will host unbeaten Brother Rice in next week's regular-season finale for a shot at the Chicago Catholic League Blue Division crown.
Broncos running back Nick Fedanzo ran for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns and the Montini defense blanked the 5-3 Celtics after that opening drive.
"I'm really happy with the way we've played on the road this season," said Fedanzo, whose 12-yard touchdown in the first quarter put the visitors ahead for good at 7-3. "We seem to rebound well even if things don't start well for us."
Montini increased its lead to 13-3 on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Deontay Bell to Zach Olson, who hauled in the lobbed pass by his fingertips while catching the pass in stride and racing into the end zone.
When the Broncos then added a 38-yard touchdown pass on a Hail Mary to close out the half on top 20-3, Providence found itself in too big a hole to dig out of. Robert Brazziel fired the ball a good 50 yards in the air as time expired and the ball was claimed by Nate Muersch in a crowded right corner of the end zone.
Broncos coach Mike Bukovsky was thrilled with that last-second play to close the half but also with Fedanzo's hard running and with his team's defense. He was especially pleased after the initial drive saw the Celtics go 66 yards for a first-and-goal at the 9 before settling for a 28-yard field goal by Jake Andjelic.
"We made a couple of adjustments and changed a couple fronts, and then we started to handle their running game better," Bukovsky said. "We just keep playing really well every week and now we've got the opportunity to play a great Brother Rice team with a chance to win a title in a league that some people didn't think we could play in."
As for the big pass play and for Fedanzo, who broke off a 48-yard touchdown in the second half as the Broncos totally took command, the offense brought as many smiles to the coaching staff as did the defense.
"That was a real big play at the end of the half," he said of the catch Muersch made as the first half ended. "(Brazziel) can really sling it and that play gave us a ton of momentum."
As for his senior captain running back, who had another big game just five days prior in Sunday's win against Fenwick, the coach had this to say: "Nick is a beast. He's got it all. He can pop it all the way any time and he runs the ball hard."