Sycamore walks away with OT win vs. Montini

Updated 11/9/2019 10:07 PM

SYCAMORE -- There was a time there in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon when Montini finally seemed to find its footing against Sycamore.

It didn't last, at least not long enough for the visiting Broncos.


Montini rallied from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit only to lose 16-13 in overtime in a Class 5A second-round football playoff game.

"We made so many mistakes and you're not going to win ballgames when you do stuff like that," Montini senior wide receiver Nate Muersch said. "... Honestly, their defense was very good. The footing I think was awful, but I'm not going to blame it on stuff like that.

"It's just tough. At the end of the day, it's just about us. We made a lot of mistakes. We were on the goal line twice."

It was the first time the third-seeded Spartans (10-1) have beaten No. 6 Montini (8-3) in the playoffs. The Broncos won the first six matchups.

"They outplayed us. We did not execute," Montini coach Mike Bukovsky said. "You can't win a ballgame when you get stuffed three times inside the 10-yard line and come away with nothing. We left way too many opportunities out there."

Twice the Broncos had a first-and-goal situation, and twice they came away empty. The first time came at the end of the first half when quarterback Deontay Bell rolled right on fourth down at the 2-yard line, looking for Muersch, who slipped to the slick grass while making a cut in the end zone. Forced to improvise, Bell was stopped at the 1-yard line, and Sycamore led 6-0 at halftime.

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And then there was overtime, when Montini got the ball first and started from the 10-yard line. The Broncos came up empty on fourth down at the 20.

"You can't win games that way," Bukovsky said. "You've got to get points down there. We didn't execute in big times. Defensively, the sad thing is we played a very good game physically against them, but we gave up two, actually three big plays over the top. Two of them hurt us."

Sycamore senior quarterback Grant McConkey completed just 5 of 12 passes, but he still finished with 186 yards in the air and 2 touchdowns. The first came with 4:38 left in the second quarter when he hit Kyle Antos for a 31-yard TD reception. But McConkey took his turn slipping on the grass field while kicking the extra point and missed it.

Sycamore took a 13-0 lead with 8:21 to play in the game after McConkey found running back Manny Dominguez for a 72-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline. But Montini drove 80 yards in six plays on its next possession, with Bell finding Muersch for a 31-yard TD catch. Montini trailed 13-7 with 7:01 to play.


Montini squib kicked the ensuing kickoff, and the Broncos fell on the ball at the Sycamore 37-yard line after it bounced off a Spartan. Seven plays later Bell found Nick Wind for a 24-yard TD pass.

The Broncos missed the point-after kick after a 5-yard penalty that the Broncos coaches vehemently disputed.

In overtime the Broncos went four plays and out, losing 10 yards in the process. Needing any kind of score to win, the Spartans advanced 5 yards, setting up a McConkey 22-yard field goal for the win. This time he made sure he didn't slip.

"It's something I've never felt before," McConkey said. "It's crazy. I've never had a game-winning field goal. But we played as a whole team and we put ourselves in positions to win and that's what happened."

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