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5A Football: Montini Overtakes JCA in Semifinal Thriller

Montini 40, JCA 37: Joe Borsellino scored three second-half touchdowns as the Broncos rallied to overtake the Hilltoppers Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Joliet.

Breaking It Down: Joe Borsellino didn’t have Ty Isaac-like numbers.

Borsellino did have the one thing Isaac wanted most—the ‘W’ that went with Montini’s scintillating 40-37 victory over Joliet Catholic Academy in the Class 5A football semifinals Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Joliet.

Borsellino scored three second-half touchdowns as the Broncos overcame deficits of 21-7 and 31-14. He converted on a fourth-and-2 play from the JCA 17 with 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Two plays later, he scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard lunge with 30.8 remaining.

JCA took over and moved the ball to the Montini 43 before its last-ditch drive stalled following three straight incompletions. One of Craig Slowik's passes during the series was tipped by Montini’s Dylan Thompson.

Borsellino’s heroics offset the running of Isaac for JCA. He rushed for a game-high 277 yards on 30 carries and scored three touchdowns. Included was a 22-yard burst that gave the Hilltoppers a 37-34 lead with 4:41 left.

Patch’s MVP: Joe Borsellino, 5-11, 185, senior, quarterback/running back/wide receiver/defensive back. Borsellino rushed for 71 yards on 11 carries. He caught six passes for 48 yards. And he scored three second-half touchdowns.

Ouch: Borsellino left the field without his right sock and shoe. He banged up his ankle on a tackle of Isaac.

"Yes, sir, I've give up any type of injury for a victory, especially a victory that brings you downstate for your fourth year in a row," Borsellino said. "I twisted it wrong when I tackled Isaac. He's a pretty big kid. I fell back and he landed on top of me."

Did You Know? Montini’s Andrew Harte extended his state-record PAT streak to 111 before his final extra point kick was blocked by JCA’s J.B. Butler.

For The Record: Ty Isaac became JCA's all-time leading rusher with 5,309 yards to show for his career. J.R. Zwierzynski rushed for 5,070 from 1998-2001.

Montini Stat Pack: Joe Borsellino (11 carries, 71 yards; 6 catches, 48 yards; 3 TDs), Dimitri Taylor (17 carries, 157 yards; 3 catches, 63 yards; 3 TDs), Mark Gorogianis (5 catches, 35 yards), Alexander Wills (16-of-20 passing, 175 yards, 2 TDs).

JCA Stat Pack: Ty Isaac (30 carries, 277 yards, 3 TDs), Tyler Reitz (14 carries, 123 yards), Craig Slowik (8-of-12 passing, 114 yards, 2 TDs), Chris Tschida (4 catches, 51 yards, 1 TD), Jordan Jones (2 catches, 29 yards, 1 TD), Brian Bravo (33-yard field goal), Matt Madrigal (12 tackles), Anthony McInerney (10 tackles), Kevin Jensen (10 tackles).

Quotable I: “We were walking on the field and ‘DT’—our running back—he looks at me and he goes, ‘Follow me. Follow me to state,’ ” Montini’s Joe Borsellino said of the words he had with Dimitri Taylor before the Broncos converted on a fourth-and-2 at the JCA 17. “I was like, ‘I’ll run right off your (butt). We’re going all the way.’ I just broke through the line and got the first down. I knew we were going to win after that.”

Quotable II: “We talked it over on the sideline and we said we’re going for the win—period,” Montini coach Chris Andriano said. “We came here to win. They’ve never lost a semifinal game ever at home. I think they were 9-0 in semifinal games at home. And we said we’re coming over for the win. That’s what we decided.”

Quotable III: “He does, yes, have an option, but he was the option on that play,” Montini coach Chris Andriano said of Borsellino’s fourth-down run. “He’s just too slithery in there. He’s tough.”

Quotable IV: “It just came down to two great teams playing and, when we scored, we thought maybe we scored a little too soon,” JCA coach Dan Sharp said. “But with 8 minutes left, you can’t really hold back too much. It’s just tough. I feel for this whole team, but especially the seniors. Ty (Isaac) and ‘Reitzy’ and Slowik and Madrigal—all those guys. When you’re with them for as long as we have been, living with them daily, practices from the summer on out, you can’t help but fall in love with these guys. They’re a special group of kids. We lost ‘Mammo’ (Matt Mammosser died of cancer in May). They’re special. They’ll be better for this. If this is the worst thing that happens in their lives, they’ll be the luckiest guys in the world.”

Team Records: Montini is 11-2. JCA finishes 8-5.

What’s Next: Montini will face Morris at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, in the Class 5A state championship game. Morris defeated Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 30-20.

Scores of Interest: Glenbard West 19, Lake Zurich 13; Glenbard North 27, Loyola Academy 24. For more IHSA football playoff scores, go to ScoreZone.

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