Montini has finished first or second in the state for the past seven years. So this is not a statement to be taken lightly:
“This is the best team we have ever had,” Montini coach Chris Andriano said. “Record-wise, defense-wise, speed-wise.”
The Broncos topped off an undefeated season by beating Crete-Monee 38-15 in the Class 6A state championship game on Saturday at Huskie Field in DeKalb.
Montini (14-0) led 10-0 after the first quarter. The Warriors (11-3) answered with 15 points in the second quarter. Then it was time for Justin Blake to break another game open.
The Broncos’ dynamic quarterback broke free for a 64-yard touchdown run to make it 18-15 Montini with 1:13 to play in the first half. The Broncos cruised from there.
“It was real important, we needed that momentum back,” Blake said.
The run was more than points on the board, it was motivation for the Montini defense.
“Our defense has been lights out all year long,” Andriano said. “They needed a wakeup call I think. I really believe that was the key moment for us.”
Blake ran 26 times for 199 yards and two touchdowns. He was 10-for-20 passing for 104 yards.
“You never say out loud that you are going to go undefeated,” Andriano said. “Our speed was a factor, lets face it. We’ve got the guys that can run.”
Junior running back Prince Walker is another one of those guys. He had 22 carries for 130 yards and three touchdowns.
Montini lost to Sacred Heart-Griffin in the Class 5A title game. Blake didn’t think it was speed or any new scheme that made the difference this season.
“It was the chemistry,” Blake said. “Everything was just more positive from the first practice. We got on each other, but always in an encouraging way. We jelled together from the start and that helps on the field.”
Clint Ratkovich was the driving force behind the Warriors taking the lead in the second quarter. He had 25 carries for 75 yards and touchdown. Kevin Pate scored on a two-yard run in the second quarter and caught seven passes for 71 yards.
Crete-Monee quarterback Isiah Rucker was 14-for-22 for 123 yards. The Warriors lost their final regular season game to Prairie Ridge before upsetting Lemont, Sacred Heart-Griffin and Hinsdale South to advance to the title game.