Montini suffers 'learning loss' at Mt. Carmel
There's no such thing as a good loss, but there may be some credence to a learning loss.
That's how Montini senior quarterback Deontay Bell viewed his team's 27-20 defeat at the hands of Mt. Carmel on Friday.
"(It's) a learning loss," said Bell, who did just about everything in his power to will the Broncos to victory over the top-ranked team in Class 7A. He had 115 yards rushing on 15 carries and a touchdown, along with 123 yards passing and a scoring toss.
"We know what we need to work on to get better, and starting Sunday, we're going to start preparing for next week," he said.
"I'd agree with that," said defensive lineman Pat Peters, who was responsible for containing Mt. Carmel star junior quarterback Justin Lynch. "We haven't played a team of this caliber yet. Obviously, Mount Carmel is really good, and it's going to prepare us for the harder games this season.
So if this was a learning loss, what did the Broncos learn exactly?
First off, secondaries are going to have a tough time containing Bell, especially during crunch time. With his team down 27-14 with 2:50 to go, the senior orchestrated an 85-yard drive, punctuated by his own 51-yard run that put the ball first-and-goal at the Mt. Carmel 4. Two plays later he scored, but the kick failed.
That set the final score, but Montini (2-1, and ranked second in state in Class 5A) wasn't quite done. The Broncos nearly recovered the ensuing onside kick, but it was scooped up by Mt. Carmel senior tight end Jack Gilbert.
What was the game plan had Montini recovered?
"Hurry-up offense," Bell said, "Get the ball downfield as quick as we can and get the score."
But the thing is, take away a few key plays, and the Broncos might have spoiled Mt. Carmel's new stadium celebration.
A fumbled snap on its opening drive gave the Caravan the ball on Montini's 35. Four plays later, Lynch hooked up with Kenenna Odeluga for a 9-yard touchdown. A Montini 15-yard late-hit penalty midway through the second quarter set up Mt. Carmel's second touchdown, a 5-yard Lynch run.
Lynch had a decent game, with 163 yards passing and two touchdowns, and another 80 on the ground and a score. But the right leg of junior kicker Julian Patino may have been the difference in the scoring outcome. He kicked field goals of 27 and 37 yards in the fourth quarter.
"Tough game," Montini coach Mike Bukovsky said. "We needed to be a little more consistent in all areas -- offense, defense and special teams. We weren't quite as consistent as we needed to be.
"We gave ourselves a chance, and that's what I talked to the boys about," he said. "You've got to compete, and give yourself a chance. We did. But in the end, the team that executes the best is going to win the game."
Lynch came away impressed with Montini's defense, headed at the line by Peters, senior Cam Richardson, junior Vinicio McPhee and junior Demond Butcher.
"They are fast and physical," he said. "We were preparing all week and we came ready."
Senior C.J. Bufkin contributed 49 yards rushing on 9 carries, while senior receiver Nate Muersch added 3 catches for 76 yards.