Cousin connection keys Montini to Championship

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Cousin connection keys Montini to Championship

Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010
7:34 PM

By Mike Clark
YourSeason.com

CHAMPAIGN -- The hits just kept on coming for Montini late in the first quarter Saturday morning.

So too, did the turnovers, and then the touchdowns, as the Broncos built a big lead and cruised home with a 34-21 win over Chatham Glenwood in the Class 5A state championship at Memorial Stadium.

It was the second consecutive state title for the Broncos and the third overall, all in the past seven seasons.

Three times in a span of 82 seconds, Montini forced a Glenwood fumble. The Broncos converted two of them into short touchdown drives to take a 21-0 lead with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.

"The turnovers really got us going," Montini coach Chris Andriano said. "It seemed like every time we hit them hard, boom, it came out."

"Sometimes things just go your way and that's what it felt like all day today," said defensive end Zech Tredenick, who had four sacks among six tackles for loss.

Just as Montini's defense gave Glenwood (10-4) fits early, so too did a Broncos' offense keyed by cousins Matt and Jordan Westerkamp.

Matt, a senior quarterback, put the Broncos (12-2) up 7-0 with a two-yard touchdown run with 3:38 left in the first quarter. He then teamed up with Jordan for a pair of scoring passes after the first and third fumble recoveries by Ross Ferraro and Frank Bruscianelli.

"They seemed to have that family telepathy going," Glenwood coach Dan Rourke said.

After those TD tosses of 13 and 23 yards, it was 21-0 and Glenwood was reeling.

"Fumbles are fumbles," Rourke said. "We hate them, but they're going to occur. ... We haven't been doing that in the playoffs and that's why we're here."

The Titans got on the board with Tony Giovannelli's eight-yard run with 6:34 left till halftime. But the Westerkamps struck again, this time on a 51-yard scoring pass with 3:57 remaining in the second period.

That gave Matt Westerkamp 30 touchdown passes for the season and Jordan 21 TD receptions.

"Last year I was only a sophomore," Jordan Westerkamp said. "My brother Christian and Nick Campanella were the big guys. This year, me and Matt were able to hook up the whole year. I felt like I was more a part of it."

Matt Westerkamp finished 14 of 25 for 199 yards and three scores with one interception. His cousin had seven catches for 146 yards and those three touchdowns.

Glenwood's defense steadied itself after halftime and limited Montini to a pair of field goals by Matt Kersten. But the Broncos' defense made the lead hold up, allowing just one more score till the game's final minute.

"Up front, they're as good as we've seen," Rourke said.

"This is a significant win," Andriano said. "It puts us on the map of special teams and special programs."

Connor McDavid believes Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat will succeed in NHL: 'He's a special player'

Connor McDavid believes Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat will succeed in NHL: 'He's a special player'

Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat is putting up video-game numbers in the Ontario Hockey League.

He ranks first among all players with 49 goals and 104 points, and has done so in only 50 games. That's an average of more than two points per game.

DeBrincat, the Blackhawks' second-round draft pick (No. 39 overall) in 2015 thanks to the Andrew Shaw trade, became the Erie Otters' all-time leading goal scorer earlier this year and on Saturday, he tied Brad Boyes for second on the team's all-time points list with 309. The only player he's chasing now is teammate Dylan Strome, who has 329 and counting.

Connor McDavid, who ranks fourth in Otters history with 285 points, was there for DeBrincat's rookie season when he scored 51 goals and 50 assists. The 20-year-old Oilers captain very much still pays attention to the Otters, and isn't surprised by the heightened success of his former teammate.

"He’s having another amazing season," McDavid said. "No surprise there."

It was easy to suggest DeBrincat's numbers were inflated because he benefited from having a player like McDavid centering his line. But McDavid insists that wasn't the case.

"Honestly, we helped each other," McDavid said. "It was not a one-way street by any means. He finds a way to score goals. My year they were saying, 'Oh, he was just playing with me.' Then the other year, he’s playing with (Strome). He’s playing with Stromer again. To score 50 three seasons in a row is absolutely incredible no matter who you’re playing with or what you’re doing. Absolute credit to him."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The numbers back it up, too.

DeBrincat's points per game average has increased in each of the last three seasons: 1.53, 1.68 and 2.08, a significant jump from his second to third season. It's especially impressive when you factor in that he's scored only eight of his 49 goals on the power play this year after combining for 34 goals on the man advantage in his first two. 

Initially, McDavid was a little skeptical when informed that newly-signed winger DeBrincat, who's now listed as 5-7, 170 pounds, would be his new linemate. It didn't take long for that to change.

"He kind of just came out of nowhere," McDavid said. "I remember us signing (him) and looking, and it said he was 5-2, 140 pounds, whatever. The GM at the time, Sherry Bassin, said 'I found you a new winger.' I’m like, ‘That guy is going to play with me?’ Sure enough, he comes in and we kind of have that chemistry right away.

"He knows where the net is. He finds a way to score basically every night. He’s got a great shot. He’s one of the feistiest guys I’ve ever played with. It’s really remarkable about what he’s been able to do."

Size is surely to be the biggest concern for DeBrincat at the NHL level, but players such as Cam Atkinson (5-7), Johnny Gaudreau (5-8) and Mats Zuccarello (5-7) are proving that you can be among the league's best despite being undersized. And the game is evolving into more of an up-tempo style where teams built on speed is becoming the new norm.

DeBrincat's willingness to stick his nose into dirty areas combined with his offensively-gifted ability is a big reason why McDavid believes his former linemate will succeed at the highest level.

"I think well," McDavid said when asked how DeBrincat's game will translate into the NHL. "He’s just got such a drive and such a nose for the net that I don’t think he’s going to be stopped. He takes on guys much bigger. I don’t really know how he does it.

"Especially when he was a rookie and I was playing with him, he’s going into scrums against guys that are 6-5, and you’re on the ice thinking, ‘How the hell am I going to help you?’ He definitely picks his fights. He’s a special person and special player."

CSN's Dan Hayes meets the White Sox Dan Hayes

CSN's Dan Hayes meets the White Sox Dan Hayes

Is the White Sox clubhouse big enough for two Dan Hayeses?

We're about to find out this spring training as CSN White Sox Insider Dan Hayes covers the team, which includes first base prospect Danny Hayes.

The Sox prospect Hayes battled .250 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs in 55 games for Charlotte last season.

The big-league hopeful and White Sox beat reporter spoke with CSN's Chuck Garfien about the similarities the two (don't) have.

No word yet on whether they'll battle the two Rougned Odors and Geovani/Geovany Sotos to an Anchoman-style duel.

Check it all out in the hilarious video above.