This 2011 game left those in the press box shaking their heads

  • Montini's Jordan Westerkamp hauls in a long pass in front of Joliet Catholic Academy's Grant Harrison during the IHSA Class 5A state championship in Champaign in 2011.

      Montini's Jordan Westerkamp hauls in a long pass in front of Joliet Catholic Academy's Grant Harrison during the IHSA Class 5A state championship in Champaign in 2011. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/26/2020 7:54 AM

When the stats hit your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore.

When the opposing running back scores 6 touchdowns on 515 yards rushing and the team you're covering still wins, that's amore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Montini's 70-45 win over Joliet Catholic in the 2011 Class 5A football championship game in Champaign has to be the favorite high school event I've covered.

It was an awesome display of offensive call and response that had those in the Memorial Stadium press box shaking their heads at the wonder of it all. They couldn't believe what they were seeing.

The game -- no way resembling Montini's 29-28 title thriller over Joliet Catholic two seasons earlier -- set or tied 22 Class 5A title game records, and 18 title game records regardless of classification.

Some of the notable marks were the 1,644 yards of offense by both teams, 853 yards by Montini. The Broncos gained 33 first downs while Joliet Catholic ran for an overall state record 747 net yards.

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Countering Ty Isaac's 515 yards rushing, fourth-best in state history, Montini quarterback John Rhode completed 29 of 45 passes for 587 yards -- fifth all-time -- and 7 touchdowns.

Capping his prep career as Illinois' leader in receiving yardage and touchdown receptions, Montini's Nebraska-bound receiver Jordan Westerkamp caught 12 passes for 353 yards and 5 touchdowns including a 94-yarder.

Despite all this, Montini linebacker Franklin Bruscianelli set a Class 5A title game record with 20 tackles.

Leading 45-42 with 5:56 left in the third quarter, Joliet Catholic fumbled the next two times it had the ball. Montini kept on going, outscoring the Hilltoppers 28-0 on touchdowns by Dimitri Taylor, Joey Borsellino and 2 by Westerkamp.

In a second-quarter flurry lasting 5:52, Joliet Catholic and Montini scored on five straight possessions. In the first 6:04 of the third quarter they combined for 4 straight touchdowns.

"That might have been the weirdest game I've ever been part of in my life," said Mike Bukovsky, Montini defensive coordinator and now its head coach.

It was mine.

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