Despite trailing by eighteen points midway through the third quarter, a career performance from senior quarterback Deontay Bell (pictured above) helped the Montini Broncos overcome St. Rita this past Friday night as the home team scored the final 28 points en route to a come-from-behind 45-35 victory.
Montini received the opening kickoff and scored right away, as Bell connected with CJ Bufkin for a 20-yard score. St. Rita responded right away as Mustangs quarterback Brian Johnson connected with Joe Polselli for a 14 yard score. Following a Bell interception, Johnson tossed his second touchdown pass of the night, a 17 yard pass to Henry Wilson, to give St. Rita a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. Montini answered right back on a 66-yard catch-and-run from Bell to Nate Muersch to tie the score at 14. On the next offensive play, Mustangs running back Kaleb Brown dashed 70 yards down the far sideline to reclaim the lead. Brown added a second touchdown run with two minutes to play, but Montini cut the halftime deficit to 28-17 thanks to a 26-yard field goal by Aaron Stevenson that glanced off the left upright before falling in.
St. Rita scored on the opening possession of the second half, as Johnson tossed his third touchdown pass of the night, this time a 19-yard strike to Wilson. Those would be the last points the Bronco defense would allow, and the strong play of the defense would set the stage for the offensive comeback. The two teams traded punts before Bell connected with Dan Canty on an eight-yard pass with four minutes left in the third quarter. Montini elected to go for two, and Bell connected with Jalen McBride on the conversion attempt. On the ensuing Mustang possession, Bufkin intercepted a pass and returned it to the St. Rita 42 yard line. Montini scored again three plays later when Bell connected with Nick Wind on a 21-yard pass. St. Rita blocked the extra point attempt, but the Mustangs were forced to punt on the following possession. On the first offensive snap of the fourth quarter for Montini, Bell called his own number and raced 76 yards down the near sideline to reclaim the lead. The Broncos added one final score with eighteen seconds left on a 14 yard pass from Bell to Muersch, and the defense stopped the Mustangs on two plays before the final horn.
Overall, Bell accounted for 508 of the Broncos’ 547 yards of offense, completing 19 of 31 passes for 305 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception while also rushing for 203 yards and a score. Muersch led the team with 216 yards and two touchdowns on eleven receptions. Defensively, Montini recorded four sacks, two by Patrick Peters and one each by Cam Richardson and DiAndre Harris. Jarin Edwards led the team with twenty total tackles, while Bufkin and Zeb Nelson each recorded an interception.
In lower-level action, the freshman Broncos defeated the Mustangs on a last second touchdown to win 31-29 on Friday night, while the JV Broncos were defeated 31-24 on Monday. Montini returns home this Friday, September 27th, for the Homecoming game against St. Viator, with kick-off at 7:30 PM. The freshman game will start at 5 PM before the varsity game, while the JV game will be played Monday at 6 PM.