Athlete of the Week: Joe Borsellino

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It didn’t take long for word to get out on social media about Joe Borsellino’s big game on Friday night.

The Montini senior made the most of his 19 offensive touches, accounting for 172 yards and three touchdowns as the Broncos pulled out a wild 40-37 win in overtime at Palatine.

Soon after, Borsellino got Facebook messages from Indiana and Akron, two of the colleges recruiting him, asking for highlight video.

That likely won’t be the last time recruiters take notice of Borsellino, who is the Sun-Times’ Athlete of the Week.

The 5-11, 185-pounder is now the featured receiver in Montini’s high-octane passing game, inheriting the role from current Nebraska freshman Jordan Westerkamp, the state’s all-time leader in most receiving categories.

And that’s fine with Borsellino. “I love being in that role,” he said.

Montini coach Chris Andriano figured Borsellino would be up to the challenge.

“He was pretty special in that [opening] game,” Andriano said. “That’s kind of what we expected out of him. He’s been doing it since his sophomore year.”

A year ago, Borsellino caught 71 passes for 989 yards and 10 touchdowns and ran 44 times for 281 yards and nine scores as the Broncos won their third consecutive Class 5A title. He’ll be counted on even more heavily in Montini’s four-peat bid with Westerkamp and Anthony Taylor having graduated.

Opponents know that, so Montini offensive coordinator Lewis Borsellino — Joe’s dad — plans accordingly.

“One of the great things about our offense is that we can move him around,” Andriano said. “It’s difficult for teams to keep track of where he is.”

Sometimes Borsellino will be split wide, sometimes he’ll go in motion and sometimes he’ll line up as a Wildcat quarterback. On Friday, he caught 12 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns and ran seven times for 26 yards and a score.

The Broncos needed every bit of offense he could muster as they let a 21-0 lead slip away and needed a late drive to wipe out an eight-point deficit and force overtime.

“I wouldn’t say we let up, but we got a little conservative,” Borsellino said. “Next thing we knew, we were down a touchdown. Emotions went from happy to angry to happy again.”

If this season plays out the way the last three have for Montini, there could be a lot more happy days ahead.

Athlete of the week

Joe Borsellino, Montini

Year, position: Senior wide receiver.

Stats: 172 combined receiving and rushing yards with three TDs in a 40-37 overtime win over Palatine Friday.

Fast fact: He’s being recruited by Indiana, Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois and Holy Cross among others.

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