Montini coach Chris Andriano couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the final scores of last weekend’s playoff games.
After Maine South, Glenbard West and Lincoln-Way East, the area’s three top-ranked teams, were all knocked off within a 24-hour span, Andriano was glad his Broncos, the two-time defending Class 5A state champs, were still alive. They’ll play Marian Central in the Class 5A quarterfinals on Saturday.
Andriano spoke with ESPNChicago.com on Tuesday about the crazy weekend, quarterback John Rhode's stellar play and trying to avenge a regular-season loss to Marian Central.
Did you get a chance to follow all of last weekend’s playoff surprises?
Chris Andriano: Wow, my jaw kept dropping. I can’t believe what’s going on there. It’s just high school football.
What’s been the difference for your team since quarterback John Rhode returned from injury?
CA: John is able to see the field and spread the ball around and makes good decisions based on adjusting routes and defensive coverage. He’s the best of all worlds at quarterback because he’s so smart.
Did you anticipate this sort of success with him throwing 28 touchdowns in six games?
CA: I did not, personally. I’ve never seen a kid, and I’ve been doing this a long time, who is able to combine reading defenses and getting the ball to the open guy. He’s just excellent. I’ve never seen anyone better.
What has to happen differently to beat Marian Central this time around?
CA: Defensively, we’re going to have to play a better game. They really did beat us up there. Their offense was really outstanding. They had three long drives and scores. We have to play a better defensive game. We did not tackle well. I think whomever’s defense is playing the best is coming out on top.
What makes Marian Central so difficult to play?
CA: Their quarterback, he’s a threat to run or throw. They have an excellent coaching staff and are a well-prepared team.