Montini QB makes Marian Central pay for mistakes

WOODSTOCK – The loss hurt for Marian Central, but especially because of who handed it to them.

The ninth-seeded Hurricanes (8-3) lost, 40-7, to top-seeded Montini in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs Saturday. The loss marks the fifth straight season that the Broncos have elminated Marian from the playoffs.

"It's demoralizing," Hurricanes tight end Tanner Spoden said. "It tears you down, and its so hard to come back from. The past five years it's the same thing over and over."

"Anybody but them," linebacker Steven Wember added.

The Broncos took advantage of Marian mistakes, scoring touchdowns after two fumble recoveries and capitalizing on the field position Marian gave them after penalties. Montini had four drives start in Hurricanes territory, with two others starting on their own 43- and 49-yard lines. The Broncos got points on all but four of their drives.

Marian forced a fourth down on Montini's first drive to start the game, but the punt return was muffed, setting up the Broncos on the Marian 38. Three plays later, Montini quarterback Alexander Wills hit reciever Leon Thornton for a 57-yard touchdown.

On the Hurricanes' second possession, Marian used a personal foul penalty on a punt to get the ball into Montini territory, but the Broncos recovered another fumble on their 26-yard line. Twelve plays and 74 yards later, facing third down in the drive only once, Wills completed the second of his five touchdown passes on the day, hitting Tyler Tumpane for a 14-yard score.

"You can't make mistakes in a big game like this," Hurricanes coach Ed Brucker said. "They're going to hurt you and there was just way too many."

Thornton added two more scores from Wills in the second and third quarters, finishing with 130 yards on nine receptions, with Wills going 23 of 41 for 306 yards. Connor Costello added 125 yards on six receptions, with the Broncos only rushing the ball 10 times in the first half.

The Hurricanes finally got on the board in the fourth quarter, after a fake punt gave Marian the ball on the Broncos' 15-yard line. Quarterback Billy Bahl found Jordan Niemeyer for a 15-yard touchdown on the first play.

Bahl finished 13 of 26 passing for 158 yards, with running back Ephraim Lee adding 47 yards on 11 carries and three receptions for 27 yards. Receiver Brett Olson had 50 yards on four receptions.

"I thought they came to play the first time and they stepped it up a whole nother level," Spoden said. "We stepped it up too, but they brought it."