Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Since both teams in the 5A...

...finals are undefeated and No. 1 seeds, I'll assume neither one is favored. If this were Las Vegas the game would be a Pick 'Em. So I'll pick Montini (13-0) over Sacred Heart-Griffin (13-0).

Although the two schools haven't played each other in a few years, their recent history is pretty even. If anything, you could make an argument that the Cyclones are the favorite. Here's the record of the teams' head-to-head matchups since 2004 (home team in CAPS):

2009: Sacred Heart-Griffin 28, MONTINI 14
2008: Montini 34, SACRED HEART-GRIFFIN 31
2007: MONTINI 34, Sacred Heart-Griffin 24
2006: SACRED HEART-GRIFFIN 32, Montini 25
2005: Sacred Heart-Griffin 40, MONTINI 15
2004: SACRED HEART-GRIFFIN 47, Montini 3

Both coaches, Ken Leonard of Sacred Heart-Griffin and Chris Andriano of Montini, have been at the helm since at least 2004.

So why am I picking Montini, especially since I know so little about the Cyclones? Because in the one game I saw the Broncos play this year, against Joliet Catholic, Montini came from behind to score, went for two points and won the game. And I just came away incredibly impressed. Here's one of my tweets from that day:

JCA takes over on downs at own 27 with 7:14 left in game. Still leading Montini, 21-14.

What I didn't say was, This baby's over. But that's what I thought. The Hilltoppers had just stopped a long Montini drive late in the fourth quarter and now it was only a matter of giving the ball to Mike Ivlow and running down the clock. JCA, I thought, was headed to DeKalb.

But Coach Andriano and the Lombard squad had other thoughts. And here was my next tweet:

Montini scores on a tipped pass! Broncos up 22-21. 4:11 remaining in game.

And that's where it ended. So Montini, not JCA, is going to the finals.

Now, has Sacred Heart-Griffin ever done that? Probably. But I've never seen them do it. And the team I did see on that rainy November afternoon just seems to find ways to win. Year in and year out.

And that's why I'm calling for a 5-peat.

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