LOMBARD – After his team’s narrow 30-22 loss to Class 5A defending state champion Montini on Friday, Marmion coach Dan Thorpe told his team he was proud of its effort.
The Cadets came back from two-touchdown deficits on two occasions only to run out of time against the always formidable Broncos.
While pleased with the Cadets’ effort, Thorpe was wringing his hands at what was a missed opportunity for Marmion.
“We had them on the ropes in the second half – it’s the theme of our season,” Thorpe said. “We’re right there with these quality teams. I’m never happy with a loss, but we questioned our kids’ character at halftime and they responded.”
Thorpe’s doubts about his team stemmed from a rough first half on both sides of the ball as Montini did what it usually does – move the ball. The Broncos’ spread offense that puts quarterback Alexander Wills in the shotgun with multiple options to choose from ate up the Cadets in the first half.
Wills’ gaudy first-half numbers included a pair of touchdown passes, one on the Broncos’ first drive. Wills finished the drive 6 for 6 on the 73-yard drive, capped off by a 6-yard strike to Mark Gorogianis to take a 7-0 lead.
Sam Breen put a dent in Wills’ first-half numbers with a diving interception that gave Marmion (1-4, 1-2 Suburban Christian Conference Blue) great field position at the Montini 36. Seven plays later, Brock Krueger found Seth Sevenich in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 14-7.
“We had an opportunity tonight, but we didn’t get any stops,” Thorpe said. “We don’t do the little things that good teams do. We practice it, we coach it up – that’s the frustrating thing about it.”
The stops that the Cadets did get were big, setting up scores in both instances. The Breen interception set up Marmion’s first score in the first half, and Dimitri Taylor’s fumble to start the second half set up another Cadets’ score.
Given great field position after the turnover, the Cadets marched 55 yards in 13 plays and cut the lead to 21-14 after a 1-yard run from Mike Montalbano.
The Broncos (4-1, 3-0) put a touchdown and a field goal on the board that again put Marmion down two scores.
Again, the Cadets responded.
Charlie Faunce hit Montalbano on a 17-yard touchdown to pull Marmion to within 30-20. Faunce found Josh Meyers on the 2-point conversion to cut Montini’s lead to 30-22.
“When you play a three-time state champion, we knew we were in for a battle,” Faunce said. “In the second half, we made adjustments, came back and played better.”
A forced three-and-out gave Marmion the ball back at its own 10-yard line. Faunce scrambled for a pair of first downs before two incompletions and a short pass to Meyers forced the Cadets to punt with 5:38 to go.
Montini got a pair of first downs and ran out the clock to end the game.
Faunce was upbeat despite the loss.
“If we play like that going forward, we’re going to be tough to beat,” Faunce said. “When we got it down to eight, we had the momentum on our side – it felt good. We just came up short against a really good team.”
MONTINI 30, MARMION 22
Montini 7 14 9 0 – 30
Marmion 0 7 7 8 – 22
HOW THEY SCORED
MO – Gorogianis 6 pass from Wills (Harte kick), 4:25
MO – Taylor 5 run (Harte kick), 9:37
MA – Sevenich 6 pass from Krueger (Graham kick), 3:53
MO – Brachmann 4 pass from Wills (Harte kick), 1:16
MA – Montalbano 1 run (Graham kick), 6:03
MO – Borsellino 4 pass from Wills (conversion failed) 3:14
MO – Harte 24 field goal, 0:21
MA – Montalbano 17 pass from Faunce (Faunce to Meyers 2-point conversion), 9:38
RUSHING – Montini: Taylor 24-126, Totals: 24-126. Marmion: Ruddy 7-45, Glasgow 16-43, Faunce 10-64, Clohecy 1- minus 1, Krueger 2- minus 2, Montalbano 4-18, Meyers 2-4. Totals: 42-168
PASSING – Montini: Wills 28-36-1-259 Marmion: Krueger: 3-4-55, Faunce 6-11-59
RECEIVING – Montini: Gorogianis 9-136, Borsellino 11-110, Dusek 4-33, Taylor 2-17, Brachmann 2-4. Marmion: Clohecy 1-24, Glasgow 1-25, 2-12, Montalbano 2-26, Ruddy 1-7, Bicknell 1-15, Meyers 1-7
TOTAL YARDS – Montini 385, Marmion 282