Sports

Marian Central set for another playoff matchup with Montini

WOODSTOCK – There is an inevitability to every football season for Marian Central and Montini.

“If you get two years on varsity, you’re going to play [Montini] four times,” Marian wide receiver-defensive back Tom Klinger said.

Since 2004, the only seasons the two have not met in the playoffs were in 2005 and 2008, when Marian missed the postseason. The Hurricanes trail in the rivalry over that span, 6-11, but they get another shot at 6 p.m. Saturday.

No. 9 Marian (8-2) hosts No. 1 Montini (10-0) in a Class 5A second-round playoff game at George Harding Field with hopes of ending the Broncos’ streak of postseason success between the Suburban Christian Conference powers. Montini knocked the Hurricanes out of the playoffs each of the past four seasons and went on to win a state championship each time.

“We didn’t get it the first time, but we weren’t too disappointed in the way we played,” Hurricanes offensive tackle Nate Patterson said. “We played hard, put up some points, we just have to tighten up the defense and keep doing what we did last game and improve on a few things.”

Marian lost at Montini, 40-35, in Week 7 of the regular season. Marian hopes it can produce a turnaround from the past two seasons, when it beat Montini in the regular season, then lost in the playoffs.

“If we were to lose a game, it was the perfect way to lose in the regular season because it gives our team confidence, and gives them a sense of security that they feel they can romp us,” Klinger said. “Maybe we come out with some new defensive backs and see what we can do with our defense and turn the tide a little bit.”

Marian has confidence that it can score with quarterback Billy Bahl, the area’s passing leader, and running back Ephraim Lee, the area’s No. 2 rusher. What the Hurricanes will need is a way to slow down Montini’s offense.

“We have to get a couple more defensive stops,” Hurricanes coach Ed Brucker said. “The least they scored all season was 21 in the first game. Hopefully our offense will play as well as it did last time.”

While Marian wants to toss some new looks at Montini, Marian knows the Broncos will switch things up as well.

“They come out in regular season and they’re one team, then come out in the playoffs and they’re a whole other team,” Klinger said. “You have to expect them to be the best team you’re going to play and come out and play the best game you can.”

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