Countdown to FNL: Montini

Four-time defending state champion Lombard (IL) Montini is gearing up for a run at a fifth straight title.

Usually a team starts to be labeled as a "dynasty" after a third consecutive championship. A fourth straight might be considered a "powerhouse." But the Lombard (IL) Montini Broncos are going for a fifth straight Illinois 5A title this fall. Should they pull it off, we'll come up with a term for it.

It seems like every year, Montini is sending athletes to division one football programs. Receiver Jordan Westerkamp helped pace Montini to three of the four titles on offense, joined by defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson on the other side of the ball for the third title.

Still, even with all of the talent departing year after year, Montini reloaded and repeated. In 2012, future division one linemen Fred Beaugard and Tate Briggs brought the team back to Champaign for another title.

Now, seniors Dylan Thompson (Ohio State commit), Nile Sykes, and Simmie Cobbs lead the charge. Thompson will spend most of his time on the defensive line, but might go both ways in some of the bigger games this coming season.

Sykes is a guy who has the versatility to play both defensive end and linebacker. Chances are he'll be the quarterback of the defense this year in the middle and will line up a majority of the time at linebacker.

Cobbs is a bit of a wildcard. A transfer from Oak Park River Forest who became eligible during the basketball season could be the deep threat for Montini. The interesting thing is that Cobbs seems to be favoring basketball more than football when it comes to his college athletics future. Maybe an impressive fall will give him something to think about.

Now let's take a look at a few key games for Montini. And looking at their schedule, if they're going to complete the five-peat, they're going to have to really earn it the hard way.

First game they circled on the calendar... 9/7 vs. East St. Louis

East St. Louis is probably the most athletic and talented team the Broncos will face all season. Featuring seniors like Kyron Watson and Greg Taylor, committed to Kansas and Missouri respectively, as well as juniors Natereace Strong and Terry Beckner, East St. Louis will be tough to handle on all fronts. Can Montini's execution overcome East St. Louis's shear athleticism?

Potential Trap Game... 8/30 vs. Maine South

The game, set to broadcast on ESPN matches two teams who have won state titles in the last 3 years. With such a big game the next week against East St. Louis, Will Montini get caught looking ahead and underestimate Maine South?

Must win, late-season game... 10/19 @ Aurora Christian

Aurora Christian will be the last big hurdle prior to the playoffs for Montini. The Broncos should be favored in the game, but they really need to win this one to get that last important boost of momentum heading into the postseason.

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