Montini, Aurora Christian set to clash

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Two heavyweights take the field Friday night in Lombard when visiting Aurora Christian meets Montini in the Sun-Times Season Pass Spotlight Game on

The Eagles (7-0, 5-0 Suburban Christian Blue) are defending IHSA Class 3A champs and figure they need a win to keep pace in the conference standings with undefeated Marian Central, which handed defending 5A champ Montini (5-2, 4-1) a 49-24 league loss last week.

“They’ve got two losses, one to the possible 7A state champion (Lincoln-Way East) and one to the possible 5A state champion (Marian),” Aurora Christian Coach Don Beebe said. ”But Montini is still a monster program and certainly capable of winning 5A again.

”We’ve played them the last three years and it’s 138-22 (cummlative score). We’ve gone in and laid an egg and each game was over by halftime. This is a little different team. They have a different moxie to them and you hope they’re able to the challenge that presents itself.”

Montini, which will be making its 20th straight playoff appearance in two weeks, has an IHSA multiplier-adjusted enrollment of 1,143. Aurora Christian, which will be making its 11th straight playoff appearance in its 15-year history, has an adjusted enrollment of 513. ACS and Marian do not meet this season.

“We’ve been in the same shoes when we played schools that were bigger than us,” continued Andriano, who arguably has the second toughest schedule in the state. “We never look at it as being an underdog, we just try to be the best football team.

“They’re gonna be ready to play. We’re gonna be ready to play and it’s gonna be a good high school football game.”

Opponents on Montini’s schedule this season have won 45 games thus far, second only to projected Class 7A St. Rita at 46. The Broncos non-conference slate included a 40-37 win over Palatine and 20-14 loss to 7A Lincoln-Way East.

“It’s a pretty good schedule,” Andriano said . “It gets you ready for the playoffs. You need those kind of games to be in pressure situations.”

In contrast, the Eagles’ foes this year have just 24 wins thus far.

Injuries could be key in deciding the outcome. Montini quarterback Alex Willis, a transfer from Wheaton Warrenville South who has completed 116 of 181 passes for 1,256 yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, is questionable for the game.

“Last week we faced a really good team and they took it to us,” said Andriano, noting that Willis left the game with a concussion.

Starting cornerback Matt Diedrick has missed three games with a concussion and the coach said he didn’t know yet if either would be available.

Leading Bronco receiver Joe Borsellino has returned from a sprained knee but still isn’t 100 percent.

Running back Dimitri Taylor, who missed two games early in the season, leads the Montini ground game with 511 yards rushing.

Aurora Christian will counter with first-year starter, senior QB Ryan McQuade (112-for-201, 1,677 yards, 26 TDs), but his favorite target, coach Don Beebe’s son Chad (39 catches, 597 yards) has missed the last three weeks with a broken bone in his arm and is doubtful.

“I think it’d be risky,” Andriano said . “Hopefully he can return for the playoffs and they can make a run to another title.”

Seniors Cory Windle (24 catches, 431 yards) and Ryan Suttle (20 catches, 206 yards) have helped fill the void and the Eagles’ running game has also been strong featuring Burlington Central transfer Joel Bouagnon (66 carries, 687 yards) and Brandon Mayes (41 carries, 379 yards).

“I think they’re doing a great job running the ball,” Andriano said. “The tailback (Bouagnon) is a terrific player and can do it all. The other back (Mayes) is a great complement and their passing game is dangerous. Don calls a great game and they make you defend the whole field.”

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