Montini ousts JCA for second straight year

943689.png

Montini ousts JCA for second straight year

Dick Goss
SeasonPass.com

Among Montinis many assets is strong-legged place-kicker Andrew Harte.

The Broncos had driven into position to tie Joliet Catholic in the final minute. They were facing a fourth-and-2 at the Hilltoppers 17-yard line.

However, when you are in pursuit of a fourth consecutive state championship and you have senior Joe Borsellino on your side, you believe.

Borsellino took the snap in Montinis spread formation and followed senior running back Dmitri Taylor up the middle for a six-yard gain to the 11. Taylor gained 10 on the next play and Borsellino sneaked in with 30.8 seconds remaining to give the Broncos a 40-37 victory Saturday afternoon in a classic Class 5A semifinal at ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium.

We call the play a 14-follow, and D.T. (Taylor) looked at me and said, Follow my (butt) to state, Borsellino said of the key fourth-and-2 conversion. We knew we could pick it up. Montini is all about going for the win.

We were going to the for the win, there was no other way, Montini coach Chris Andriano said. We did not come here to play overtime. We came here to win.

Besides, both teams were completely exhausted.

It was that kind of a semifinal.

Much like the 2011 5A championship game, when No. 15 Montini beat No. 19 Joliet Catholic 70-45, the Broncos (11-2) had little luck containing Joliet Catholic senior wingback Ty Isaac. He rushed for 277 yards in 30 carries, scored three touchdowns and became the schools career rushing leader with 5,315 yards, surpassing the 5,070 of J.R. Zwierzynski.

That means Isaac ran for 792 yards and scored nine touchdowns in two meetings with Montini in the last 12 months, yet both efforts were in defeat.

Joliet Catholic (8-5), which had a 528-440 advantage in total yards as wingback Tyler Reitz rushed for 123, scored on every one of its possessions of the first half, except for when it ran out the clock in the final minute. The Hilltoppers upped a 28-14 halftime lead to 31-14 midway through the third quarter when Brian Bravo kicked a 33-yard field goal. But Montini was far from finished.

Borsellino, who scored three second-half touchdowns, climaxed a touchdown drive, catching a six-yard pass from Alex Wills to make it 31-21 and setting the stage for the Montini defense.

Joliet Catholic was at its 45 with a fourth-and-1 late in the third quarter when coach Dan Sharp decided to go for the first down. Isaac wanted the ball and got it, but he was met by Joe Nitti, Nicholas Sanzeri and Dylan Thompson for a yard loss.

It was the way this game was going, Sharp explained. We had confidence we would get the first down. Even if we punted there, I dont know if 40 more yards would have mattered. We couldnt stop them in the second half.

Four plays later, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Borsellino scored from nine yards out to make it 31-27.

On Joliet Catholics next possession, after two first downs, Thompson forced an Isaac fumble that Montinis Charles Long recovered at the Montini 44. On the next play, Wills hit Taylor on a bubble screen that he turned into a 56-yard touchdown up the right sideline to put Montini ahead 34-31. Taylor rushed for 157 yards, caught three passes for 63 and scored three times.

Playing against Ty Isaac only motivated me, Taylor said. Hes great. I just wanted to show, in my eyes, whos better.

Joliet Catholic responded, driving to a 22-yard Isaac touchdown run with 4:41 left for a 37-34 lead. That, however, left too much time for a Montini offense that scored on every possession of the second half.

The Hilltoppers tried to move the ball in the final half-minute behind quarterback Craig Slowik (8-of-12 passing for 114 yards), but their season ended at the Montini 43-yard line.

92 Days to Kickoff: Plano

planoslide.png

92 Days to Kickoff: Plano

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Plano

Head coach: Brad Kunz

How they fared in 2016: 7-3 (4-1 Interstate 8 Large), lost to Manteno in the 4A  opening round action.

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 25 – Johnsburg

Sept. 1 – @ Harvard

Sept. 8 – Herscher

Sept. 15 - @ Sandwich

Sept. 22 - Manteno

Sept. 29 – @ Coal City

Oct. 6 - Streator

Oct. 13 - Reed-Custer

Oct. 20 - @ Westmont

Biggest storyline: Can the Reapers reload?

Names to watch this season: Senior DB Mauricio Perez Senior DB Alec Chavez

Biggest holes to fill: The Reapers will need to replace 20 graduated starters from a season ago, and that group also included several multi-year starters for Plano.

EDGY's Early Take: The Reapers no question have work to do this summer, yet head coach Brad Kunz and staff always finds a way for Plano to compete in the Interstate 8 conference and beyond.

Preview: Confident Fire face tough test vs. FC Dallas on CSN

Preview: Confident Fire face tough test vs. FC Dallas on CSN

The Chicago Fire are on a three-game winning streak, but those wins have come against struggling teams. FC Dallas, tonight's opponent, provides a different level of opposition.

Dallas won the Supporters’ Shield and the U.S. Open Cup last year and was the last team in Major League Soccer to lose this season, only getting knocked off for the first time Saturday against San Jose.

The Fire host Dallas at Toyota Park on CSN with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live. The Fire (6-3-3, 21 points) have more points, but Dallas (5-1-4, 19 points) has played two fewer games.

“You can test yourself against one of the best teams in the league and kind of gauge where you’re at,” Fire defender Brandon Vincent said. “We’re confident and we want to go out there and battle with them.”

Vincent has been part of a defense that has two straight shutouts, although those came against the two-worst goal-scoring teams in the league in Colorado and D.C. Dallas’ attack isn’t the most prolific in the league (14 goals in 10 games), but is very dangerous on the counter.

“They have a ton of attacking talent,” goalkeeper Matt Lampson said. “They’re actually just a solid team throughout and we expect a very hard game, but we are a completely different team. I think we’ve started to prove that and it’s going to be a very good game.”

While the defense will be busy containing Maxi Urruti (6 goals, 2 assists), midfielder Kellyn Acosta has been a crucial two-way player for Dallas. The 21-year-old has become a key player in the middle with playmaker Mauro Diaz, who was third in MLS with 13 assists last year, still out with an Achilles tendon injury.

Dallas has allowed the fewest goals in the league this season, seven through 10 games. Both centerbacks, Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman, have emerged as national team prospects for the U.S.

Dallas has the talent, experience and credentials of a top team. The Fire are new to being a contender. Vincent and Lampson, both in their second years with the Fire, said they haven’t seen the team have this much confidence since they joined the team.

“This is something special,” Lampson said. “That just proves that guys like Juninho, Dax (McCarty) and Bastian (Schweinsteiger) coming in, the culture has completely changed and we have guys who will do anything to win. When you have every guy on the team that’s like that, then you’re going to get results, you’re going to have confidence when you play well and everybody on the field is going to play for each other.”

Chicago Fire vs. FC Dallas

Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.

TV: CSN Chicago

When: Coverage begins 7 p.m. tonight with Fire Pregame Live

Records: Fire (6-3-3, 21 points), FCD (5-1-4, 19 points)