Montini (5-2, 3-1) at Walther Lutheran (2-5, 1-3), 1 pm Saturday in Melrose Park, IL
Montini WR Joe Borsellino looks for a hole
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Montini (Second place, Suburban Christian Blue) –
Week One: 26-21 win vs Palatine
Week Two: 41-24 loss at Loyola
Week Three: 13-6 win vs Marmion
Week Four: 21-20 loss at Marian Central
Week Five: 55-14 win vs Aurora Christian
Week Six: 33-14 win vs St. Francis
Week Seven: 59-14 win at St. Edward
Walther Lutheran (Fifth place, Suburban Christian Gold) –
Week One: 63-32 loss at Byron
Week Two: 41-32 win vs Phillips
Week Three: 34-7 loss vs Guerin
Week Four: 41-6 loss at Immaculate Conception
Week Five: 49-21 loss at St. Francis
Week Six: 48-6 loss vs Aurora Christian
Week Seven: 28-26 win vs Aurora Catholic
The two-time defending state champion Montini Broncos are rounding back into championship form just at the right time. The Broncos have won three straight games after starting the season 2-2, and have scored 30 plus points in every game.
The Broncos’ surge is due in large part to the addition of quarterback John Rhode. Rhode, a senior transfer from Marian Catholic, missed the first five games of the year while recovering from a thumb injury. Rhode has been exceptional since he took over the quarterbacking duties at halftime of the Broncos’ week six game against St. Francis. In just six quarters of football, Rhode has thrown 11 touchdown passes including five to star wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp.
Rhode completed 17 of his 21 pass attempts for 349 yards and eight touchdowns last week against St. Edward. Yes, Rhode threw EIGHT touchdown passes in last week’s game. Rhode has a stable of solid targets to throw to, including future Nebraska Husker Westerkamp. Westerkamp caught three passes, all touchdowns, for 101 yards last week. Joe Borsellino, who has also taken snaps in the “JoeCat” offense this season, caught eight passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Mark Gorogianis, the starting quarterback for the first six games, has moved to wide receiver and caught a touchdown pass last week.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Joe Borsellino, WR/QB, Montini
The versatile Borsellino has been one of the most important players for the Broncos this season. When the offense was struggling before Rhode came back from injury, Borsellino gave the Broncos a jolt with the “JoeCat” offense. In the Broncos’ week five victory over Aurora Christian, Borsellino had 152 yards of total offense and four touchdowns (he scored them three different ways: he ran for two, threw for one and caught another). With Rhode back and playing well, it will be interesting to see if the Broncos will break out the “JoeCat” again at some point. Even if he’s just needed as a pure wide receiver, Borsellino will still contribute greatly to the Broncos. He caught eight passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns last week.
Montini 56 Walther Lutheran 7
Walther Lutheran will not pose much of a threat to Montini this week. Get ready for a running clock, Rhode and the Broncos should roll to another dominant victory.
After playing 2-5 Walther Lutheran, Montini finishes off the season with a home game against 1-6 Wheaton Academy. Montini should be heading into the playoffs with a 7-2 record, fresh off a five game winning streak. The addition of Rhode has to make the Broncos one of the favorites to win the 5A title this season.