IC Catholic Prep's junior duo shines vs. Montini
The connection between KJ Parker and Dennis Mandala is special.
Opposing defenses are set to find out this fall.
IC Catholic Prep's junior duo got off to a sizzling start in the season opener Friday, connecting for a pair of long touchdowns in the Knights' 35-16 victory over Montini in Elmhurst.
Parker hauled in a 65-yard score from Mandala in the second quarter and later tacked on an 84-yard catch and run on the first possession after halftime.
"I met him in the eighth grade," Parker said of Mandala. "He's my guy and we have a pretty special connection.
"But our whole program is a weapon. We have multiple running backs (who are weapons) and wide receivers; our O-line is working hard, they are tenacious. It was very special for us to come out tonight and dominate. Throughout camp we've been working hard."
Mandala was nearly flawless, completing his first 10 passes before his only incompletion came with 3:38 left in the third quarter. He was 12-of-13 for 253 yards.
"First I have to thank my lineman," the third-year QB said. "They've been on their game since the beginning (of camp). And my wide receivers, they are so talented. Plus our defense played a great game. They really push the intensity too, when they get a stop, our team gets jacked up."
Parker finished with 5 catches for 183 yards, falling just one yard short of a third TD in the opening quarter.
"He worked in the offseason every single day," Mandala said of Parker. "He doesn't take days off. And he doesn't like to lose."
Denzell Gibson also found the end zone twice, courtesy of a one-yard run and a 24-yard screen pass from Mandala. Malik Gray closed out the scoring with a 46-yard run and totaled 131 yards on 16 carries behind an offensive line that returns Jesse Smith, Jayden Sutton, Isaiah Gonzalez and Nathan Omolo.
"I couldn't be more proud of our kids," ICCP coach Bill Krefft said. "They had that type of summer camp. We knew they were focused and ready. But we also knew that you have to play a great football game to beat Montini.
"Dennis and KJ are different, they are definitely special."
The Broncos got a trio of fields goals from Cole Stumbaugh, including a 40-yarder at the end of the second quarter which made the score 21-9.
Mingo Nixon caught a 5-yard touchdown from Cole Teschner late in the fourth and finished with seven catches for 85 yards. Teschner was 27-of-41 for 230 yards.
"They are a very good football team," Montini coach Mike Bukovsky said of IC Catholic. "Give credit to them. Their guys made plays. But more than their guys making plays, they played very consistently. We just didn't execute enough defensively. Our defense was extremely disappointing tonight."