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Broncos head into the playoffs on a winning note

The Montini football team closed out the regular season with Friday night’s 27-14 Chicago Catholic Green Conference victory over Marmion in Lombard.
Montini clinched a share of the Chicago Catholic Green Conference title with St. Francis. The Broncos and Spartans both posted conference records of 3-1. Marmion and Fenwick each turned in records of 2-2.
The Broncos, who have qualified for the IHSA playoffs every year since 1993, will open the 2014 post-season with an IHSA Class 5A playoff game against DuSable (6-3). The first-round contest will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Lombard.
If the Broncos defeat DuSable, they could meet a familiar foe in the second round. Montini may square off against Joliet Catholic, which would mark the fifth post-season meeting between the two teams in the last six years. The Broncos have won all four of their recent playoff meetings with the Hilltoppers. Two of those clashes came in state championship games (2009 and 2011). Montini also beat Joliet Catholic in the 2012 semifinal round and in last year’s quarterfinals.
Montini’s victory over Marmion marked the second straight victory for the Broncos, who suffered a convincing 31-7 loss at St. Francis on Oct. 10. Montini rebounded from that defeat with a 24-7 win over Fenwick on Oct. 17. Both of the Broncos’ last two wins came against playoff-bound teams. Fenwick (5-4) qualified for the Class 7A playoffs, while the Cadets of Marmion (6-3) will play post-season football in the Class 6A level.
All three of the Broncos’ losses this season came against playoff qualifiers at different levels. Maine South (9-0), which beat Montini in the season opener, will battle in the Class 8A level. St. Rita (6-3), which shut out the Broncos 21-0 on Sept. 12, will tangle in the Class 7A level, while St. Francis (7-2) qualified for the Class 6A playoffs.
Marmion scored a first-quarter touchdown to take an early 7-0 lead over the Broncos. Montini then scored three touchdowns to take a 21-7 halftime lead. Sophomore Prince Walker scored two of the touchdowns on running plays. Senior Leon Thornton also scored a rushing touchdown.
Senior Mason Weissenhofer kicked a pair of second-half field goals for the Broncos, connecting on attempts from 39 and 27 yards.

Willowbrook

The Warriors finished the season with a battle against their District 88 rival—Addison Trail—on Friday in Addison. Willowbrook held a slim lead early in the fourth quarter of the West Suburban Gold Conference game against the Blazers, who entered the game with a perfect conference record. Addison Trail scored a pair of touchdowns in the final quarter to pull out a 27-17 victory.
Willowbrook closed the year with an overall record of 2-7 and a conference mark of 2-4. Addison Trail went 8-1 overall and 6-0 in conference play. The Blazers will join two other West Suburban Gold Conference teams—Hinsdale South and Downers Grove South—in heading to the IHSA playoffs.
The Blazers scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, but failures on both conversion attempts left them with a 12-0 lead. Willowbrook responded with two touchdowns of its own in the closing moments of the quarter. Junior quarterback Billy Degnan fired a 75-yard touchdown pass to senior Kyle Rushing for the team’s first score. Moments later, an interception by junior Josan Murphy set up the Warriors’ next touchdown—an 11-yard run by senior David Harris with less than one minute to play in the first half. Senior Paul Yacoub made the extra-point kicks after both of Willowbrook’s touchdowns to help the Warriors to a 14-12 halftime lead.
The Blazers regained the lead on a 94-yard touchdown run with about eight minutes remaining in the game. A successful two-point conversion play gave Addison Trail a 20-14 lead. Yacoub’s 33-yard field goal on Willowbrook’s next drive cut the lead in half, but the Blazers sealed their victory with a 16-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes to play.

Glenbard East

The Rams completed the 2014 season with Friday’s 45-35 Upstate Eight Conference loss at West Aurora. Glenbard East, which began the season with a 3-1 record, lost its last five games of the season to finish the year at 3-6 overall and 1-6 in the conference. The five-game losing streak began with overtime losses to Waubonsie Valley and Bartlett.
Junior quarterback Phil Abruzino completed 17 of 39 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns against West Aurora, which finished the season at 4-5 overall and 4-3 in the conference. Abruzino, who threw one interception, rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. He scored Glenbard East’s first touchdown on a 13-yard run in the second quarter. He fired an 8-yard touchdown pass to junior Zach Walsh later in the period. West Aurora led the Rams 17-14 at halftime.
Both teams scored two touchdowns in the third quarter. Glenbard East scored on junior Joey Moore’s 57-yard  reception, followed by a 23-yard run by Abruzino. The quarterback added a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth period.
Junior Karon Keyes made a team-leading five receptions for 52 yards.


Area runners compete in cross country regionals

Freshman Cailyn Biegalski and senior Allison Hansen led the Glenbard East girls cross country team to a fourth-place finish in the team standings of Saturday’s IHSA Class 3A regional at Lake Park High School’s east campus in Roselle. The 3.0-mile race ended on the track of the stadium. Biegalski finished in a 13th-place time of 19 minutes, 5 seconds. Hansen (19:06) earned 14th place for Glenbard East in the nine-team regional. The Rams advanced to this weekend’s Niles West Sectional in Skokie. The top five teams from the Lake Park Regional qualified for the sectional. Freshman Lexi Weltin (19:28), junior Yoselin Toledo (19:31) and freshman Ali Liljestrand (19:36) rounded out the Rams’ top five finishers. Senior Kelly Heniff (19:55) and junior Elizabeth Toledo (20:49) also ran for Glenbard East. Willowbrook, which finished eighth in the regional, did not qualify for the sectional as a team, but two Warriors—juniors Jocelyn Rodriguez and Shannon Jones—advanced to Niles West as individuals. Rodriguez completed the regional race in a 15th-place time of 19:08, while Jones (19:54) placed 29th.

WILLOWBROOK’S BOYS TEAM ran to a sixth-place finish at the Lake Park Regional and earned a spot in this week’s Niles West Sectional. The top six teams from the regional advanced to the sectional. Senior Jimmy Funteas led the Warriors with a 10th-place time of 15:47 on the 3-mile course (the boys regional at Lake Park took place one hour after the girls race, on the identical course). Junior Marco Martinez (15:59) placed 16th, while junior Chris Turek (16:39) was 29th. Glenbard East finished ninth at the regional. Juniors Patrick Mikel (16:53; 34th) and Alex Delgado (17:02; 36th) earned individual berths in the sectional.

THE MONTINI GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY TEAM finished third in Saturday’s 11-team IHSA Class 2A Rosary Regional at Marmion Academy in Aurora. By finishing among the top six teams, the Broncos earned a berth in this weekend’s Wheaton Academy Sectional at Kress Creek Farms. Junior Gianna Salzbrunn led Montini at the regional, finishing the race of about 3 miles in a fifth-place time of 19 minutes, 33 seconds. Junior Emma Makowski (20:16) delivered a 16th-place time for the Broncos. Sophomore Mary O’Brien (20:44; 23rd place), junior Lauren Denemark (21:10; 34th) and senior Madeline Jamrozek (21:19; 36th) were the team’s next three finishers. Sophomore Jenna Weidacher (21:52) also ran for Montini at the regional.

 
   
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