Preps Talk

Cousin connection keys Montini to Championship

325971.jpg

Cousin connection keys Montini to Championship

Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010
7:34 PM

By Mike Clark
YourSeason.com

CHAMPAIGN -- The hits just kept on coming for Montini late in the first quarter Saturday morning.

So too, did the turnovers, and then the touchdowns, as the Broncos built a big lead and cruised home with a 34-21 win over Chatham Glenwood in the Class 5A state championship at Memorial Stadium.

It was the second consecutive state title for the Broncos and the third overall, all in the past seven seasons.

Three times in a span of 82 seconds, Montini forced a Glenwood fumble. The Broncos converted two of them into short touchdown drives to take a 21-0 lead with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.

"The turnovers really got us going," Montini coach Chris Andriano said. "It seemed like every time we hit them hard, boom, it came out."

"Sometimes things just go your way and that's what it felt like all day today," said defensive end Zech Tredenick, who had four sacks among six tackles for loss.

Just as Montini's defense gave Glenwood (10-4) fits early, so too did a Broncos' offense keyed by cousins Matt and Jordan Westerkamp.

Matt, a senior quarterback, put the Broncos (12-2) up 7-0 with a two-yard touchdown run with 3:38 left in the first quarter. He then teamed up with Jordan for a pair of scoring passes after the first and third fumble recoveries by Ross Ferraro and Frank Bruscianelli.

"They seemed to have that family telepathy going," Glenwood coach Dan Rourke said.

After those TD tosses of 13 and 23 yards, it was 21-0 and Glenwood was reeling.

"Fumbles are fumbles," Rourke said. "We hate them, but they're going to occur. ... We haven't been doing that in the playoffs and that's why we're here."

The Titans got on the board with Tony Giovannelli's eight-yard run with 6:34 left till halftime. But the Westerkamps struck again, this time on a 51-yard scoring pass with 3:57 remaining in the second period.

That gave Matt Westerkamp 30 touchdown passes for the season and Jordan 21 TD receptions.

"Last year I was only a sophomore," Jordan Westerkamp said. "My brother Christian and Nick Campanella were the big guys. This year, me and Matt were able to hook up the whole year. I felt like I was more a part of it."

Matt Westerkamp finished 14 of 25 for 199 yards and three scores with one interception. His cousin had seven catches for 146 yards and those three touchdowns.

Glenwood's defense steadied itself after halftime and limited Montini to a pair of field goals by Matt Kersten. But the Broncos' defense made the lead hold up, allowing just one more score till the game's final minute.

"Up front, they're as good as we've seen," Rourke said.

"This is a significant win," Andriano said. "It puts us on the map of special teams and special programs."

90 Days to Kickoff: Warren

warrentownship060615.png
NBC

90 Days to Kickoff: Warren

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Warren Township

Head coach: Bryan McNulty

Assistant coaches: Jim Voutiritsas, Brandon Schild, Justin Van Schaik, Tayler Erbach and Mark Mika

How they fared in 2017: 7-4 (5-2 North Suburban Conference). Warren Township made the IHSA 8A playoff field. The Blue Devils defeated Bolingbrook then lost to Maine South in second round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule

Aug. 24 vs Barrington

Aug. 31 @ Glenbard North

Sept. 7 vs Waukegan

Sept. 14 vs Libertyville

Sept. 21 @ Lake Forest

Sept. 28 @ Zion-Benton

Oct. 5 vs Lake Zurich

Oct. 12 vs Stevenson

Oct. 19 @ Mundelein

Biggest storyline: Can The Blue Devils make it back-to-back postseason appearances and challenge for the North Suburban Conference title?

Names to watch this season: DL Zack Pelland, DT Willis Singleton and RB Martin Walker

Biggest holes to fill: The Blue Devils will need to find a new pass/catch tandem to replace graduated QB Ian Schilling and a strong group in the skills department, led by WR Micah Jones (Notre Dame).  

EDGY's Early Take: The Blue Devils had a nice 2017 season. After starting seven sophomores on the varsity level a year ago, head coach Bryan McNulty has the rare combination of youth and experience this fall. The defense will be a definite strength going into the season. The offense will rely on the running game, which features four starting offensive linemen back in the fold along with senior RB Martin Walker. If the passing game can come along, this team can once again challenge in the North Suburban Conference race and also in the overall 8A picture. 

Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

5-26mitchtrubisky.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

As the Bears set their foundation for training camp during OTAs this month, one part of that is beginning to identify each player’s strengths and weaknesses on which to build in Bourbonnais. 

Designing an offense to Mitch Trubisky’s strengths was one of the reasons why Ryan Pace hired Matt Nagy, who then hired Mark Helfrich to be his offensive coordinator. Easy is the wrong word — but it wouldn’t have made sense for the Bears to not build an offense around their second-picked quarterback. 

But as Nagy and Helfrich are installing that offense during OTAs and, next month, veteran minicamp, they’re also learning what Trubisky’s weaknesses are. And the one Helfrich pointed to, in a way, is a positive. 

“Experience,” Helfrich said. “I think it’s 100 percent experience and just reps, and that’s kind of what I was talking about was knowing why something happened. As a quarterback, he might take the perfect drop and be looking at the right guy in your progression, and that guy runs the wrong route or the left guard busts or something. The defense does something different or wrong, even. And trusting that is just a matter of putting rep on top of rep on top of rep and being confident.”

It'd be a concern if the Bears thought Trubisky lacked the necessary talent to be great, or had a lacking work ethic or bad attitude. Experience isn't something he can control, in a way. 

This isn’t anything new for Trubisky. His lack of experience at North Carolina — he only started 13 games there — was the biggest ding to his draft stock a year ago; while he started a dozen games for the Bears in 2017, the offense was simple and conservative, designed to minimize risk for Trubisky (and, to be fair, a sub-optimal group of weapons around him). 

But even if Trubisky started all 16 games in an innovative, aggressive offense last year, he’d still be experiencing plenty of things for the first time. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made this point back in September that still resonates now with regard to Trubisky:

“I think it takes a few years until you can really get that title of understanding being great or even good, because you see so many looks,” Roethlisberger said. “In Year 2 and 3, you’re still seeing looks and can act like a rookie.”

So the challenge for Nagy and Helfrich is to build an offense that accentuates Trubisky’s strengths while managing his lack of experience. For what it’s worth, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles succeeded in those efforts last year with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, respectively. 

For Helfrich, though, one of Trubisky’s strengths — his leadership qualities — are already helping mitigate his need for more experience. 

“He’s still in the mode of learning and doing things out here,” Helfrich said. “We might have run one play 10 times against 10 different defenses, you know? And so his response to every one of those 10 things is brand new. And so, you see his reaction to some of those is good. Some of those things you want to improve upon and then keep your chest up and lead because we need that.”