The Big Story: Loyola Academy 27, Montini Catholic 28
The weekend’s headline matchup between Loyola and Montini produced one of the comebacks of the season.
Montini entered at 5-0, but had yet to be significantly tested this season. Early on, the Broncos looked overmatched. Loyola’s defense got on the board early, stripping Broncos QB Robert Brazziel in his own end zone and recovering the fumble for a touchdown. The ensuing drive saw Montini miss a field goal, which Loyola followed up with a long drive capped off by a touchdown run for Trevor Cabanban. Things then went from bad to worse for Montini, as they went three and out on their next drive leading to a punt return touchdown that gave Loyola a 21-0 lead.
Montini finally got the spark they needed, as they followed up Loyola’s punt return TD with a return TD of their own, taking the ensuing kickoff all the way back for a touchdown.
They got another score back on their next drive with a touchdown pass from Brazziel to Scott West, which Loyola answered with a field goal to go into the locker room leading 24-14 at halftime.
The third quarter saw the defenses step up their game, as both teams were kept off the board for several possessions until Montini cut the Loyola lead to just 3 with a 30-yard, jump-ball touchdown pass from Brazziel to Nate Muersch, who was without a doubt the difference maker for the Broncos’ offense down the stretch in this game.
After a Loyola field goal restored a touchdown lead, it was Muersch who came up big again with yet another touchdown catch. Rather than kick the extra point to tie the game, Montini decided to be aggressive and go for two. Brazziel was forced to scramble before finding Matthew Ross, who just barely forced his was over the goal line to give the Broncos a 28-27 lead. This aggressive play calling wasn’t spontaneous, as the Broncos had planned for such a situation.
“We talked about that yesterday that if we had a chance to win the game we’re going for two,” said Broncos coach Mike Bukovsky.
Loyola still had plenty of time with about 5 minutes on the clock, but proceeded to turn the ball over on downs. Their defense looked to have given them another opportunity after holding Montini on the first three plays of the next drive, but the Broncos made a another big aggressive decision and chose to go for it on 4th down, which they converted to put the game away.
Even for a team with a long history of success and state championships, Saturday still stood out as a special day for Montini.
I told the guys, you look at our program there’s not a lot of things you get to be the first guys to do…but guess what you’re the first to ever beat Loyola,” said Bukovsky.
Thus far the Broncos have impressed in their first year as members of the Catholic League Blue. They’ve got a tough schedule the rest of the way, as they’re on the road against Fenwick and Providence the next two weeks before what could be a de-facto conference championship game against Brother Rice in the final week of the season.
Player of the Game
Nate Muersch (MC): 2 touchdown catches
Around the League
Brother Rice 21, St. Rita 14
- St. Rita eliminated from playoff qualification
Providence 58, Hope Academy 42
Brother Rice 6-0 (3-0)
Montini 6-0 (2-0)
Providence 5-1 (1-1)
Loyola 3-3 (0-2)
St. Rita 1-5 (0-2)
Next Week (non-conference games for everyone)
Brother Rice vs. Marmion
Loyola @ De La Salle
Montini @ Fenwick
Providence @ Mt. Carmel
St. Rita @ St. Laurence