Here is my game recap of Lake Zurich vs #11 Montini including who stood out in this game.
This format is different than my previous article so please let me know on Twitter @lemminginsider if you guys like this format or if I should change it up for next time. I really appreciate any thoughts.
This game was a tale of 4 quarters each with a clearcut winner. Unfortunately for Lake Zurich they only won the 2nd quarter and it was not enough to fend off this tough Montini squad. At the start of the 1st quarter Lake Zurich could not stop the Montini front as RBs Joey Stutzman and George Gritsonis had no holes to run through and QB Evan Lewandowski was hurried consistently. Towards the end of the 1st quarter and into the 2nd quarter, Lake Zurich picked up their game and everything changed. RBs Stutzman and Gritsonis had holes to run through, Lewandowski had time to throw and connected with Stutzman on a short TD pass near the end of the 1st quarter. After that drive the Bears forced Montini to go 3 and out and it looked like the momentum was shifting back in their favor. The Bears offense continued to roll and drove down the field into Montini territory. Montini OLB/S Nick Foster came up big punching the ball out from Lewandowski on a QB read option giving Montini possession. From then on Lake Zurich couldn’t consistently get going on offense. Lake Zurich was very disciplined this game and only had a few penalties all game. Senior RB Kyle Roth did not play in this game and will not return this season as he is out for the year with injury.
Players That Stood Out
Evan Lewandowski: Lewandowski is a big kid (6’4″ 200 lbs), with a big arm. It was a roller coaster for him at the QB position today. He was feeling pressure from Montini DL including Joe Spivak and Joe Ross until near the end of the first quarter. He then connected with his WRs almost regularly and looked very calm in the pocket into the second quarter. Once halftime hit it was a whole other story. Montini was again putting a lot of pressure on him, flushing him out of the pocket and making him throw on the run.
Overall though, minus a fumble, #8 ran well, showed good quickness and recognition picking up chunks of yards on QB read options. He also showed flashes of his great arm on a few nicely thrown 45 yard+ deep balls that all, unfortunately, fell incomplete. One of the deep balls was catchable, but the WR couldn’t come down with it. He made good throws when he had time, but was pressured a lot in this game. He did throw an interception late in the game, but I’m still very high on Lewandowski this year so keep an eye on him.
Jack Sanborn: #7 was the clear leader of this defense. Only a junior, he just looks like a seasoned veteran on the field. He just has that “it” about him that makes you keep an eye on him while he’s on the field. He squares up hits and puts punishing blows on ballcarriers. He laid a very big hit on Montini QB Brad Norgle and I wasn’t sure if Norgle was going to get up. Norgle did get back up, but you could tell he was a little bit rattled. Sanborn played well overall this game, but I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet this year.
Ryan McGeever: While I don’t have the stats, this 5’11” 205 lb senior showed a great nose for the ball and seemed to be in on almost every tackle for the Bears. Montini backup QB Matt Morrissey took over for the Broncos on the 2nd drive of the 3rd quarter and was greeted with a healthy does of Ryan McGeever. McGeever put pressure on Morrissey all 3 plays that drive sacking him once and almost a second time before the Broncos went 3 and out (Note: The announcer struggled with names this game so 1 of these plays may have actually been fellow OLB #23 Jason Sayre). Sayre, Sanborn and McGeever all played well this game.
Joey Stutzman/George Gritsonis: Junior Stutzman carried most of the load in the ground game while sophomore Gritsonis also helped out in the Bears rushing attack. It was rough going early on for these two as Montini seemingly plugged up almost every hole leaving no room to work. However, late in the 1st quarter, Stutzman showed great cutting ability and vision by hitting holes almost with regularity. He’s not a big guy (5’7″ 160 lbs), but keeps his pad level and center of gravity low making him tough to tackle. Like Stutzman, Gritsonis himself is also not a big body (5’8″ 155). Gritsonis showed very quick feet and made people miss when in the open field.
Ian Fitzgerald: I didn’t know about the big 6’6″ 260 lb Fitzgerald coming into this game, but he made an impact for the Bears on the OL. When the holes were opening up for Stutzman and Gritsonis, he was a big part of it. He’s got a big frame and is someone to keep an eye on this season.
Like Lake Zurich, this game was a mixed bag for the Broncos. They won the 1st, 3rd and 4th quarters and ultimately came away with the victory. Montini’s OL and DL, mainly Joe Spivak (LPI #18 DL) and Mike Ross were dominating the point of attack early. Towards the end of the 1st quarter and into the second quarter Lake Zurich’s OL and DL really stepped up giving Spivak, Ross and the rest of the OL and DL a tough time. Once the 3rd quarter rolled around both teams seemed to be at a standstill with the following drives opening the 2nd half: punt, punt, punt, punt, punt. Not very exciting to say the least. Things changed for the Broncos when junior Matt Morrissey entered the game as QB during the Broncos second drive of the second half. Morrissey looked a little shaky on his first drive getting sacked and almost taking a second big sack. That drive ultimately led to a punt, but he and the Montini OL really settled in on his second drive in the game. The Broncos O-Line gave Morrissey time to throw and Montini drove the field with Morrissey tossing few intermediate gains and a 30 yard pass to WR Brandon Shilgalis. Will Smith Jr. then capped off the drive the next play with a 30 yard TD run. It took the Broncos some time to get settled in, but they looked good when they were in rhythem.
Players That Stood Out
Brad Norgle/Matt Morrissey: Starting QB Brad Norgle did not play awful, rather he was a victim of pressure via the Lake Zurich front when the Bears were clicking on defense. Sure he could have played a little better and maybe connected on a few more passes than he did, but he took care of the football (0 turnovers) and did what he could. I don’t think there was an injury to Norgle (haven’t confirmed yet), but rather the Broncos chose to go with Morrissey in the 2nd half. As stated above, Morrissey looked a little nervous his first drive, but really settled in thereafter leading Montini on 2 TD drives. Norgle is a good QB, but Morrissey played very well so it should be interesting to see who will be the starter moving forward.
Will Smith: Smith filled in again for injured Western Michigan commit Prince Walker. Smith had a very interesting game to me. He had two long rushes of 57 yards and a 30 yards for a TD, but other than that he remained fairly quiet. His two long runs were impressive, but other than those two runs the Bronco run game couldn’t get going much. Montini also tried to get Smith in space on some screen passes with nominal success. Overall I was very impressed with Smith’s speed, especially so on that long 57 yard run. I SPOKE with coach Andriano about Smith a few weeks ago and I agree with coach that Will is a kid that college scouts need to keep an eye on this season.
Brandon Shilgalis: Shilgalis was the go to receiver for Montini in this game. Montini also looked to CB/WR Mitch West a lot, but Shilgalis found the most success in this game catching a big 21 yard TD pass from Morrissey. He also added a big 30 yard reception as well. Shilgalis also did a nice job returned punts for the Broncos. If they aren’t already, defenses need to key in on him this season.
Joe Spivak/Mike Ross: I’m including these two together because they anchored the OL and DL for Montini. Spivak rarely came off the field this game playing both OG and DT for the Broncos. He is the leader of this defense line and it showed with him consistently getting in the Lake Zurich backfield and stuffing the run up the middle. He played with the same tenacity from play one all the way till the end of the 4th quarter. A true leader indeed. Mike Ross is a big body (6’5″ 305 lbs) that played well at DT, but really excelled at OT giving Morrissey time to throw during the second half of this game. When Spivak and Ross played well during the 1st, 3rd and 4th quarters, the entire Montini team went with them. Ross has the ability and size to play either DT or OG in college and, along with Spivak, are to more names to look out for on this Montini team.
Mitch West: Mitch West (LPI #11 DB) did Mitch West things this game. There were not a lot of deep passes thrown his way, but when there were he locked onto the receivers hips, used his 5’10” 175 lb frame to get on top of the receiver and put himself in a good position to make a play on the ball. Textbook defense by a very good player. Like Spivak, West never really came off the field even after getting shaken up on a play, he returned shortly thereafter. The Purdue commit is the leader of the DB corps for the Broncos and for good reason.
Nick Foster: Let me start of by saying that I really like this kid. He’s another very underrated kid that coach Andriano TOLD me to watch out for this season. After seeing yesterday’s game I now understand why. Foster (LPI #16 DB) stands 6’1″ 190 lbs and plays SS/OLB. He was all over the field yesterday, forced a fumble and was seemingly in or around almost every tackle. I really wish I had the stats from this game to see how many tackles he was in on, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he led the team. Fellow DB Brendan Rauen recovered a fumble for the Broncos and senior Tommie Morrissey also played well.