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Checking In: First Round Wrap-Up

Wheaton North QB John Peltz (4 total TDs this week against Jacobs) tries to escape a Glenbard North defender during the regular season – Photo from the Chicago Tribune


#6 Montini 49 #11 Woodstock North 14

Montini scored four touchdowns over a 12 play stretch in the second half to pull ahead from Woodstock North in the Broncos’ 49-14 first round victory.

The Broncos took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Thunder battled back and cut the score to 21-14 in the second quarter. From there though, it was all Montini, as the defensing 5A state champs scored the final 28 points of the game.

Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp had another star performance, hauling in 7 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. The Nebraska-bound senior also had a 52 yard punt return for the game’s first touchdown.

Quarterback John Rhode continued his string of excellent games, completing 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 330 yards and four touchdowns.

Montini advances to the second round where they will play at #3 Sterling 1 pm on Saturday

#8 St. Francis 27 #9 Burlington 10

After losing in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons to Montini, St. Francis broke through to the second round for the first time since 2008 when the Spartans won the Class 5A championship.

Defensive back Michael Hanson’s interception in the third quarter was the key play of the game. Trailing 14-10, Burlington opted not to punt on 4th and 13 from the St. Francis 36-yard line. Rockets QB Ryan Ritchie overthrew his target, and the ball landed in the hands of Hanson, who returned the pick 70 yards for a touchdown that put the Spartans up 21-10.

Running back Jack Petrando led the Spartans with 18 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Nick Donati added two touchdowns, one through the air and another on the ground.

St. Francis faces a tough test in the second round where they will go on the road to face #1 Kaneland at 7 pm on Saturday.


#3 Nazareth 35 #14 Deerfield 6

Nazareth running back Joshua Moore ran for 160 yards and four touchdowns in the Roadrunners dominant 35-6 first round win over Deerfield.

The Roadrunners took a 28-0 lead into halftime after holding the Warriors to just 19 yards of offense in the first two quarters. Deerfield scored its first and only touchdown with just 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Nazareth will host Cary-Grove next Saturday at 1 pm in the second round. The Roadrunners will be looking to advance to the quarterfinals for the second time in school history.

#10 Glenbard South 30 #7 Foreman 7

Running back Wesley Sanders scored two touchdowns as Glenbard South defeated Foreman 30-7 in the first round of the class 6A playoffs.

The Raiders played a sloppy game (5 fumbles, just one lost) without their starting quarterback Tyler Padera (concussion) but still dominated Foreman. Glenbard South took a 30-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Raiders will host Prairie Ridge next Saturday at 7 pm. The two teams met the first week of the season with Prairie Ridge winning convincingly 55-12.

#2 Prairie Ridge 49 #15 Marmion 0

Things started out well for Marmion, as the Cadets recovered a fumble on Prairie Ridge’s first offensive play of the game. However, the Cadets had a field goal attempt blocked on their ensuing possession, and things quickly went down hill.

Prairie Ridge went on to dominate the first half, taking a 42-0 lead into halftime. Quarterback Nick Nissen (12 carries, 38 yards) ran for four touchdowns. Running back Connor Greenwald added a touchdown and led the Wolves with 144 yards on 11 carries.

Marmion earned just one first down in the game while gaining only 23 yards of total offense.

#8 Lake Forest 55 #9 Fenton 20

Fenton struck first, but the Bison were unable to keep things going, losing to Lake Forest 55-20 in the first round of the class 6A playoffs.

Play-making running back Alan Geneva led the Bison with 10 catches for 97 yards and one touchdown.

Quarterback Sean Havlovic did not play for the Bison due a “school-related incident.”

Lake Forest running back Owen Williams (16 carries, 130 yards) reached the end zone four times for the Scots, who will face #1 Batavia in the second round.


#11 Carmel 28 #6 Addison Trail 20

Running backs Jordan Kos and Brian Brennan led the way for Carmel as they upset Addison Trail 28-20 in the first round of the class 7A playoffs.

Kos led the Corsairs with 31 carries for 167 yards and one touchdown while Brennan added 20 carries, 78 yards and two touchdowns. Addison Trail had only given up 48 points in the regular season, and never gave up more than 14 points in a game.

The Blazers drove down to the Carmel 11 yard line late in the fourth quarter in an attempt to send the game to overtime. However, the Corsairs forced two incompletions and time expired.

AT Quarterback Trevor Bermingham completed 19 of his 33 pass attempts for 177 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Carmel will host Crystal Lake South in the second round. The game kicks off at 7 pm Friday night.

#7 Wheaton North 28 #10 Jacobs 0

John Peltz had another strong performance as Wheaton North flew by Jacobs 28-0 in the first round.

Peltz completed 13 of his 19 pass attempts for 277 yards and four touchdowns. The junior added another touchdown on the ground.

Sophomore Matt Biegalski caught 5 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown while senior Johnny Daniels had 3 grabs for 73 yards and two touchdowns.

The Falcons’ defense was able to shut down Jacobs by holding down running back Caz Zyks. The talented back with a sweet name only gained 27 yards on 11 carries.

Wheaton North will face Rockford Boylan, the defending 6A champions, in the second round. That game kicks off at 1 pm Saturday in Rockford.


#11 Glenbard North 27 Barrington 21

Glenbard North only completed two passes in their 27-21 fupset win over Barrington, but the second one happened to be the play of the game.

With the scored tied at 21 halfway through the fourth quarter, Panthers quarterback Brian Murphy threw up a prayer into the end zone. The ball somehow fell into the hands of Logan Henshall for a touchdown (also Henshall’s first catch as a varsity player) and the Panthers took a 27-21 lead.

Once again, most of the Glenbard North offensive production came from the Jackson brothers. Junior Justin (17 carries, 95 yards) reached the end zone three times, while senior Phil ran for 122 yards on 21 carries.

The Panthers advanced to the second round where they will host Palatine at 6 pm on Saturday.

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Gordon Tech Outlasts Leo In Catholic League Playoff

Gordon Tech 14 Leo 8

Deon Taylor’s first career interception came at exactly the right time for Gordon Tech.

The junior defensive back’s interception with 30 seconds left sealed the Rams’ 14-8 victory over Leo in the first round of the Chicago Catholic League playoffs.

“The whole game I was expecting a pick and all season I was waiting for my first pick,” Taylor said. “I saw an opportunity there and I took it and I went.”

Gordon Tech led 14-0 going into the fourth quarter, but had to hold off a furious comeback attempt by the Lions.

The Rams were attempting to take a three possession lead halfway through the fourth quarter when quarterback Julian Russell fumbled deep in Lions territory.  Leo defensive lineman Eric Owens recovered the fumble at the Leo 20 yard line and gave the Lions new life.

Quarterback Jarod Cooper connected with running back Keith Harris Jr. on a 71-yard touchdown pass. Cooper then ran the ball in for a two-point conversion, cutting the Gordon Tech lead to 14-8 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Leo then forced Gordon Tech to turn the ball over on downs, giving the Lions offense the ball at their own 29 yard line with just under two minutes to go.

Cooper completed three passes and Leo was able to drive the ball to the Gordon Tech 35-yard line, but Taylor’s interception with 30 seconds left ended the Lions’ comeback attempt.

“We were real confident on that last drive,” said Gordon Tech Head Coach Bill Jeske. “The way our defense was playing today, we were real confident we could get a stop.”

The Rams got both of their touchdowns in the first quarter. Russell (10 carries, 47 yards) kept the ball on an option read and ran untouched up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown, giving the Rams a 7-0 lead four minutes into the game.

Habeeb Durojaiye (10 carries, 102 yards) added a 58-yard touchdown run that gave Gordon Tech a 14-0 advantage with one minute left in the first quarter.
The Rams did most of their damage on the ground, running the ball 46 times for 232 yards. The Rams only attempted four passes in the game.

“If running works, then we’ll just keep doing it. That’s our offense, just run it down their throats,” Russell said.

Gordon Tech will play Fenwick next weekend in the second round of the Catholic League playoffs.



[7:53] GT Julian Russell 25 yard run (PAT good) – 7-0 GT

[1:47] GT Habeeb Durojaiye 58 yard run (PAT good) – 14-0 GT


[5:00] LEO Jarod Cooper 71 yard pass to Keith Harris Jr (2-pt good, Cooper run) – 14-0 GT


Habeeb Durojaiye, WR, Gordon Tech: 10 carries, 102 yards, TD (58 yards)

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times. It also appears on yourseason.com.

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Class 7A and 8A Playoff Mini-Previews: AT Is For Real, How Far Will They Go?


#6 Addison Trail (8-1, 6-0) vs #11 Carmel (6-3, 6-2), Fri. Oct. 28, 7 pm in Addison

Addison Trail RB Anthony Messina gets stopped against Downers Grove South

Addison Trail finished off a perfect run through the West Suburban Gold last week with an upset victory over previously undefeated and Class 8A 3-seed Downers Grove South. The Blazers’ strong defense was able to shut down Mustangs running back Justin Williams (20 carries, 51 yards), who had run free all season long, totaling close to 2000 yards on the ground. Addison Trail’s only loss came to Glenbard West, one of the two No. 1 seeds in the 7A playoffs. The Addison Trail defense, led by linebackers Mike Imperiale and Kevin Kent, has had a dominant season. The Blazers shut out four opponents and allowed just 48 total points in the regular season. The Blazers are led on offense by running backs Anthony Catanese and Anthony Messina.

Despite their 8-1 record and conference crown, the Blazers did not receive a easy path in the playoffs. AT was only given a 6-seed and they draw a tough Carmel team in the first round. Carmel lost three games this season by a total of eight points. Two of the Corsairs losses came by just one point, including a 64-63 double overtime loss to Marist in week eight. Carmel also handed Nazareth their only defeat of the season in week two.

The Corsairs’ offense, led by running back Jordan Kos, comes into the playoffs having scored 42 points or more in four straight games. Kos, the school’s all-time leading rusher, ran for more than 600 yards and 12 touchdowns in Carmel’s final three games of the season.

The Blazers were able to shut down DGS’ Williams last week, but will they be able to contain Kos? The match-up between Kos and the dominating Blazers’ defense will be fun to watch. No team has scored more than 14 points against Addison Trail this season.


Addison Trail 17 Carmel 14

#7 Wheaton North (7-2, 6-1) vs #10 Jacobs (7-2, 4-2), Fri. Oct. 28, 7:30 pm

Wheaton North QB John Peltz

Wheaton North had won six straight games before the Falcons dropped their season finale 27-13 to their crosstown rivals, Wheaton Warrenville South. The Falcons are led on offense by dual-threat quarterback John Peltz and running back Patrick Sharp. Sharp missed a few games in the middle of the season due to injury, but he seems to be healthy and running strong.

The Falcons will face a tough Jacobs squad in the first round. Jacobs defeated Dundee-Crown 49-0 last week after dropping their two previous games to teams with 8-1 records (Prairie Ridge and Crystal Lake South). The Golden Eagles feature a run heavy offense, led by a running back with a sweet name, Caz Zyks. The 5-10 senior ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns last week against Dundee-Crown.

The winner of this match-up will likely play Rockford Boylan, last year’s 6A champion, in the second round.


Wheaton North 31 Jacobs 21

Class 8A

#11 Glenbard North (6-3, 4-3) vs #6 Barrington (7-2, 4-1), Sat. Oct. 29, 6 pm

Glenbard North RB Phil Jackson looks for a hole

Glenbard North was able to snap a three game losing streak last week with a 34-10 win over Naperville North. The Panthers, as they have all season, relied on the Jackson brothers to lead them to victory. Phil and Justin Jackson combined for 253 rushing yards and four touchdowns last week. Older brother Phil has been the workhorse for the Panthers, but Justin has made an impact on offense backing up his brother and on defense as a safety.

The Barrington Broncos, second place finishers in the Mid-Suburban West, come into the playoffs on a three game winning streak. The Broncos features a run first offense led by a strong offensive line. The O-line is anchored by Wisconsin commit Dan Voltz. Running back Chase Murdock ran 36 times behind that line for 315 yards and four touchdowns in Barrington’s 29-28 victory over Conant in week seven. The Broncos got a boost from their special teams last week as Dylan Zyzda returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. The Broncos have a marquee win on their resume, they gave 8-1 Elk Grove their only loss of the season in week two.


Barrington 28 Glenbard North 14

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Class 6A Playoff Mini-Previews: How Long Will Nazareth’s Dream Season Continue?

#3 Nazareth (8-1, 7-1) vs #14 Deerfield (6-3, 5-0), Sat. Oct. 29, 1 pm in LaGrange Park

Nazareth RB Joshua Moore eludes a tackler against Notre Dame

Nazareth, co-champions of the tough East Suburban Catholic Conference, enters the playoffs on a seven game winning streak. The Roadrunners, appropriately, are a run-first team. Running back Rudy Romagnano was the team’s workhorse to begin the season, but the senior suffered an ankle injury on the first play of Nazareth’s monumental victory over Joliet Catholic. Joshua Moore has taken over the full share of the load in Romagnano’s absence, and the Roadrunners haven’t missed a beat. Moore rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns last week in the Roadrunners’ lopsided win over St. Viator.

Defensive back Kalium Ewing returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week. It was the second time this season Ewing has done that, having also returned two picks for scores against Notre Dame. Ewing is an all-around playmaker, he has also reached the end zone on offense and special teams.

Nazareth is definitely a threat to win the 6A title, but they face a challenging route to Champaign. The Roadrunners will likely have to beat 2009 champion Cary-Grove in the second round (fresh off a win over previously unbeaten Prairie Ridge) and 8-1 Prairie Ridge in the quarters before meeting 9-0 Bartlett in the semifinals.

#14 Deerfield will also pose a threat to the Roadrunners. Deerfield wrapped up a Central Suburban North championship last week with a 45-21 victory over Highland Park. The Warriors started out the season with three straight non-conference losses, but were able to finish the season with a perfect conference run of five straight wins.

Deerfield also features a run-first offense. The Warriors rushed for 478 yards in their victory over Highland Park. Fullback Tyler Vajdic led the way with 185 yards and two touchdowns while wingbacks Mark Pagano and Ryan Adkins ran for a combined 206 yards and three touchdowns. Deerfield’s win over Highland Park (5-4) was the Warriors’ only victory over a team with a winning record.


Nazareth 38 Deerfield 21

#10 Glenbard South (6-3, 4-0) vs #7 Foreman (7-2, 6-1), Fri. Oct. 28, 7:30 pm at Lane Stadium in Chicago

Glenbard South RB Wesley Sanders has made big plays for the Raiders all season long.

Glenbard South, champions of the Metro Suburban Conference, are led by big play machine Wesley Sanders. The senior running back, who has reached the end zone over 20 times this year, leads an offense that has been running on all cylinders during the Raiders five game winning streak. Sanders had 159 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Raiders’ conference-championship clinching victory over Ridgewood in week eight. Sanders has also had big plays as a receiver and returner this year.

The Raiders’ three losses all came at the hands of playoff teams, including 9-0 Crete-Monee and 8-1 Prairie Ridge. The Raiders knock off Foreman this week, they will likely have a second-round rematch against Prairie Ridge.

The Raiders will travel to Chicago to face Foreman, the champions of the Chicago Public School’s Big Shoulders Conference. Foreman also comes into the playoffs red-hot, winning their last six games of the regular season.


Glenbard South 29 Foreman 23

#15 Marmion (5-4, 2-3) vs #2 Prairie Ridge (8-1, 5-1), Sat. Oct. 29, 1 pm in Crystal Lake

Marmion made the 6A championship game last season but the Cadets just squeaked into the playoffs this year with a 5-4 record, albeit against a challenging schedule. The Cadets’ four losses came to playoff teams that combined to lose just four games all season (Marian, Montini, Batavia and St. Francis). The Cadets have a bruising defense and like to control the game with their bruising running attack led by Kyle Kozak, Garret Becker and Cody Snodgrass.

Prairie Ridge cruised through the first eight games of the season, winning every game by at least three touchdowns, before dropping their regular season finale against Cary-Grove, 22-21 in OT. The Wolves outscored opponents 381 to 87 this season. The Wolves, angry and motivated after losing their first game, will likely be too much for the Cadets.


Prairie Ridge 31 Marmion 6

#9 Fenton (7-2, 2-2) vs #8 Lake Forest (7-2, 5-1), Fri. Oct. 28, 7:30 pm in Lake Forest

Fenton RB Alan Geneva celebrates with teammates after a touchdown.

First off, I’m really not sure how Fenton received a higher seed than Glenbard South. Yes, I know the Bison have a better record, but the two conference foes played just three weeks ago, and the Raiders won in convincing fashion 40-8. Fenton complied a pretty empty 7-2 record, winning zero games against playoff teams. In fact, the Raiders were the only playoff team they faced, and as I just said, they lost by 32.

Anyway, the Bison are led by running back Alan Geneva, who does most of his damage catching screen passes. Fenton runs an interesting offense that features a lot of screen passes out of a shotgun formation.

Lake Forest won a share of the North Suburban Lake division this season. The Scouts are led by running back Owen Williams who ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s victory over Libertyville.


Lake Forest 35 Fenton 14

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Class 5A Playoff Mini-Previews: The Quest For A Montini Three-Peat Begins

The IHSA football playoff pairings were announced Friday night, at about the same time I was watching the most painful football game (or sporting event) I have ever witnessed. Damn you Spartans. Anyway, I’m going to post my thoughts on the match-ups involving the teams I saw this season in person. Here is the first installment of my mini-previews, focusing on the 5A games. I’ll post the mini-previews of the 6A, 7A and 8A games tomorrow.

#6 Montini (7-2, 4-1) vs #11 Woodstock North (7-2, 5-1), Sat. Oct. 29, 1 pm in Lombard

Montini WR Jordan Westerkamp dives for a catch in last year’s Class 5A championship game

Montini, the two-time defending 5A state champion, enters the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the state. The Broncos have won five straight games and have outscored opponents 276 to 50 over that stretch.

The Broncos offense has transformed into a powerhouse since John Rhode took over the quarterbacking duties at halftime of Montini’s week six game against St. Francis. Rhode missed the first five games of the season recovering from a broken right thumb. In just over 10 quarters of play this season, Rhode has thrown for 1,100 yards and 22 touchdowns. Rhode has a strong stable of wide receivers to target. Jordan Westerkamp, a Nebraska recruit, is the star of the receiving corp, but Joe Borsellino and Anthony Taylor are talented weapons as well.

“There is really only one expectation for us, that’s to play in the final game,” said Montini Head Coach Chris Andriano after last week’s 54-6 victory over Wheaton Academy.” We’ve been very blessed with some great kids, great coaching staff, great teams and we’ve been able to be in that game and actually win that game the last two years so that’s our expectation, we want to practice on Thanksgiving day and play on Thanksgiving weekend.”

Montini’s two losses came without John Rhode and at the hands of two 9-0 teams (Loyola and Marian Central).

The IHSA didn’t give the Broncos any favors with their seeding. Despite the way Montini has looked in recent weeks, the Broncos were only given a six seed, and a rematch with 9-0 Marian Central likely awaits in the quarterfinals.

Woodstock North won a share of the Fox Valley Fox division crown this season in only the school’s third year as a varsity squad. The Thunder overcame a 15 point halftime deficit last week in their 47-35 victory over Grayslake North.

The Thunder, led by 5-7 fullback Ryan Wade, are a run-first team. They rushed for 333 yards during the second half of their comeback win last week. Wade had 33 carries for 189 yards in total last week.


It’s hard to see Montini losing their first round game, but Woodstock North offense will present a challenge. Montini has done well against strong running offenses this season, defeating Marmion and St. Francis, giving up two touchdowns combined in those games.

Montini 38 Woodstock North 17

#8 St. Francis (7-2, 3-2) vs #9 Burlington Central (7-2, 4-1), Sat. Oct. 29 7 pm at College of DuPage

St. Francis WR Michael Hanson against Marmion

This class 5A 8/9 match-up features two teams with run-heavy offenses entering the playoffs with multi-game winning streaks.

St. Francis heads into the playoffs on a three-game winning streak. The Spartans’ two losses to this season came to two highest ranked 5A teams, 9-0 Marian Central and 7-2 Montini.

St. Francis features a run-first offense, led by running backs Jack Petrando and Jeff Rutkowski. Petrando is more the workhorse but Rutkowski scored four touchdowns (two rushing, two receiving) last week against St. Edward.

Burlington Central, second place finishers in the Big Northern East division, have outscored opponents 151-17 during their current four game winning streak. The Rockets have only lost two games this season by a total of five points.

The Rockets offense is led by running back Joel Bouagron. The 6’1, 205 lb. junior has rushed for 376 yards and five touchdowns over the last two weeks.


Burlington Central 28 St. Francis 24

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Montini Rides Rhode To Victory Over Wheaton Academy

Montini cruised to victory under Friday night lights in Lombard.

Montini 54 Wheaton Academy 6

It’s hard to imagine a team getting off to a better start than Montini did Friday night. Quarterback John Rhode threw three touchdown passes in the first three minutes of the Broncos’ 54-6 victory over Wheaton Academy in Lombard.

Rhode finished the game completing 18 of his 25 pass attempts for 328 yards and seven touchdowns. Rhode has now thrown for more than 1,100 yards and 22 touchdowns in just over 10 quarters of play since coming back from a broken right thumb.

“With John back in the offense, everything has opened up a lot more. We’ve been executing, coaches have been making great calls, we’ve just been adapting to defenses,” said the Nebraska-bound Westerkamp. “John is an unbelievable kid. He’s got a great arm, he just fits this offense so well.”

Interceptions by Montini defensive back Joe Cione on back-to-back possessions led to touchdown passes of four and six yards by  Rhode on his first two pass attempts of the game.

Rhode threw a four yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp on Montini’s first offensive play of the game and the Broncos led 7-0 just 14 seconds after kickoff.

Rhode’s six yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Joe Borsellino gave Montini a 14-0 lead just a minute into the game.

Running back Dimitri Taylor took a shovel pass from Rhode and ran 41 yards into the end zone just two minutes later, and the Broncos led 21-0 with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter.

“We can put points on the board in a hurry, so if the defense can get us the ball like that, we’re going to score,” said Montini Head Coach Chris Andriano. “It’s nice to see that we are able get those leads and get teams into our kind of game.”

Rhode threw touchdown passes to five different Bronco receivers. Westerkamp (7 catches, 105 yards) and Borsellino (5 catches, 74 yards) both had two touchdown grabs, while Mark Gorogianis, Anthony Taylor and Dimitri Taylor each had one.

“Our quarterback is the guy who makes it all work, but our receivers are really good. It’s a very special group of kids,” said Andriano.

Wheaton Academy (1-8, 0-5) quarterback Drew Decker threw a two yard pass to wide receiver Mark Lindsay early in the second quarter for the Warriors’ only touchdown of the game.

Montini, the two-time defending 5A state champion, enters the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the state. The Broncos have won five straight games and have outscored opponents 276 to 50 over that stretch.

“Everything seems to be rolling. We can’t wait to find out who we’re going to play in the first round. We’re really excited to get started,” said Westerkamp.

“Hopefully we can keep this up in the playoffs and win a state championship again.”



[11:46] MON John Rhode 4 yard pass to Jordan Westerkamp (PAT good) – 7-0 MON

[10:55] MON John Rhode 6 yard pass to Joe Borsellino (PAT good) – 14-0 MON

[9:03] MON John Rhode 41 yard pass to Dimitri Taylor (PAT good) – 21-0 MON

[6:54] MON John Rhode 21 yard pass to Joe Borsellino (PAT good) – 28-0 MON

[3:38] MON John Rhode 30 yard pass to Mark Gorogianis (PAT good) – 35-0 MON

[0:52] MON Andrew Harte 20 yard field goal – 38-0 MON


[7:56] WA Drew Decker 2 yard pass to Matt Lindsay (PAT blocked) – 38-6 MON

[6:21] MON John Rhode 14 yard pass to Anthony Taylor (PAT good) – 45-6 MON

[3:26] MON John Rhode 11 yard pass to Jordan Westerkamp (PAT good) – 52-6 MON

[1:05] MON Safety – 54-6 MON


John Rhode, QB, Montini: 18-25, 328 yards, 7 TDs

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Week Nine Preview: Wheaton Academy at Montini

Wheaton Academy (1-7, 0-4) at Montini (6-2, 3-1), 7:30 Friday in Lombard, IL

Wide Receiver Joe Borsellino tries to break away from a Loyola defender. Photo by Tracy Allen~for Sun-Times Media


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

Week Eight: 75-0 win at Walther Lutheran

Wheaton Academy (Fifth place, Suburban Christian Blue)-

Week One: 27-14 loss at Westminster Christian (St. Louis, MO)

Week Two: 42-0 loss vs Byron

Week Three: 40-0 loss vs St. Edward

Week Four: 56-12 loss vs St. Francis

Week Five: 41-14 win vs Chicago Christian

Week Six: 24-6 loss vs Marmion

Week Seven: 56-16 loss vs Marian Central

Week Eight: 42-0 loss vs Aurora Central Catholic


Montini comes into this week’s game against Wheaton Academy on a four-game winning streak and fresh off a 75-0 shellacking of Walther Lutheran. The Broncos have outscored their opponents 222 to 42 over that stretch.

Montini’s offense has been on absolute tear since John Rhode took over the quarterbacking duties at halftime of the Broncos’ week six victory over St. Francis. In just over eight quarters of play this season, Rhode has completed 30 his 52 pass attempts for 831 yards and 15 touchdowns. Montini has reached the end zone 21 times and scored 154 points since Rhode entered the lineup. With Rhode healthy and behind center, the Broncos are hitting their stride at exactly the right time. The state playoffs kick-off is just one week away. “John Rhode is a special quarterback. We’ve had him for two full games now. He’s very good at reading defenses and getting the ball to the open guys,” said Montini Head Coach Chris Andriano said after last week’s 75-0 win over Walther Lutheran. “He is a difference maker for us. We should be very well prepared with him when it comes to the playoffs. He’s going to be a big plus.”

Rhode is being helped out by a very talented receiving corp that includes future Nebraska Cornhusker Jordan Westerkamp. In the eight quarters Rhode has played, Westerkamp has caught 15 passes for 328 yards and seven touchdowns. Joe Borsellino has 12 receptions for 170 yards and three touchdowns, and Anthony Taylor has nine receptions for 252 yards and four touchdowns since halftime of the St. Francis game. Borsellino remains a dual-threat as the “JoeCat” offense made an appearance last week. The senior receiver took a direct snap and ran 19 yards for a touchdown on a fourth and two play in the first quarter. Mark Gorogianis, the Broncos’ starting quarterback the first five games of the season, has moved to wide receiver and has caught two passes for 21 yards and a touchdown.

Montini’s defense is also playing at its highest level of the season. The Broncos defensive line, led by Iowa-bound Jaleel Johnson, dominated the line of scrimmage as Walther Lutheran could only muster 24 yards of total offense last week. “That was the best game to date up front defensively. I thought we pretty much snuffed everything out,” said Andriano. “It was very good to see that our run defense and our pass rush became a factor for us today, it was great for our defensive guys.”

If Montini can continue their high level of play on both sides of the ball, the Broncos have an excellent shot at winning a third straight class 5A state championship.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Anthony Taylor, WR, Montini

Taylor has been a big player for the Broncos since Rhode entered the lineup. The senior receiver has caught nine passes from Rhode for 252 yards and four touchdowns. The big-playmaking Taylor has collected most of his yards after the catch, breaking tackles and alluding defenders. Taylor only had three catches last week, but they all went for over 40 yards, including touchdowns of 44 and 56 yards. Taylor combines with Westerkamp and Borsellino to give the Broncos a deep, talented and dangerous group of wide receivers.


Get ready for a running clock. Wheaton Academy will not present much a challenge as Montini tries to win their fifth straight game. The Warriors have lost four straight games and their only win this season came against winless Chicago Christian. Rhode should put up big passing numbers again in the Broncos final tune up before the playoffs.

Montini 56 Wheaton Academy 7

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