St. Rita welcomed Montini to Catholic League football with a dose of what the conference is known for: stifling defense and a dominating ground game.
The Mustangs handed the Broncos their first shutout loss since 2006, winning 21-0 in the wind and rain Friday night in Chicago.
Marty Bechina had his fifth interception of the season for No. 12 St. Rita (3-0), which also had fourth-down stops by David Landstrom, Mike Tiernan and Matt Mitchell.
Meanwhile, Tyre Lee had another big game for the Mustangs, rumbling for 214 yards on 28 carries.
The senior did so despite missing time with cramps in the second quarter, an unexpected development given the weather and the fact that he made sure to be hydrated with water and Gatorade.
“It just came out of nowhere, but I was fine,” he said. “It was pretty cold, but you just have to get through it and fight for [those] yards. … I knew, in the game plan, we wanted to run it and get it out early, pound it.”
So the Mustangs did, opening a 14-0 halftime lead on Lee’s nine-yard touchdown run at 3:29 of the first quarter and Xavier Allen’s 26-yard scoring run on the first play of the second quarter.
For No. 16 Montini (1-2), playing catch-up was a losing game.
“They’re tough,” Broncos coach Chris Andriano said. “They were just better than us. Up front they were better than us, they handled us.
Our kids hung in there, [but] we’re just not as good as they are in the trenches.”
The Mustangs took the second-half kickoff and went 80 yards to score again, with quarterback C.J. Weydeman scooting 47 yards around left end for the touchdown with 7:26 left in the third quarter.
St. Rita’s defense did the rest.
Montini quarterback Chuck Norgle completed 19 of 40 passes for 208 yards, but the Broncos managed just 36 yards on 11 rushes.
“The run game wasn’t there,” Andriano said. “We had to throw quick. We dropped some, we were off on a few timing-wise, they had us scouted pretty well.”
“Defensively … we were using tonight’s game as a barometer to see where we were as a team,” St. Rita coach Todd Kuska said. “I think our guys answered the call on both sides of the ball.”
Now, he’s hoping Lee gets a few calls from college coaches.
“Tyre is a fantastic back,” Kuska said. “He should be getting more attention than he is right now. He had the injury last year but he’s had back-to-back weeks of 200 yards [rushing].”
And the Mustangs did the job on offense — running 51 times for 327 yards — without the element of surprise.
“I think they knew we were going to run the ball,” Kuska said. “And it’s nice we were still able to get it done.”