Leo’s performance against Montini in a Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic crossover football game had too many distracting flaws to qualify as a thing of beauty, which was unfortunate. 

The Lions emptied the tank in terms of effort, only to fall 39-32 when Montini’s Cole Teschner threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Estevan Moreno to break a 32-all tie late in the final period before a Montini Homecoming crowd on Friday, Sept. 24 in Lombard.

With a steady, game-long drizzle intensifying, Leo traveled 43 yards in just over a minute on its final possession, but turned the ball over on downs after reaching Montni’s 24-yard line. The Broncos then ran out the clock, leaving both teams with 2-3 records … and the knowledge that they had been in an enervating, entertaining ballgame.

The second Teschner-Moreno TD collaboration of the evening was rather tame in comparison with the big-play haymakers that preceded it. Leo pulled even at 32 when a botched snap on a Montini field goal try wound up in Tim Durr’s hands and the junior defensive back brought it back 90 yards for a touchdown.

Earlier, quarterback James E’Akels and wide receiver Austin Ford hooked up for a 68-yard score, and junior running back Rayshaun Davidson turned a short gain into a 55-yard TD by keeping his legs moving and slipping through a pile of bodies just beyond the line of scrimmage. 

E’Akels completed 10 of 18 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns, one to Ford and one covering 12 yards to Rayion Davidson. He also had a three-yard touchdown run, while Marcus Ray’s 17 carries produced 96 yards.

Montini, meanwhile, hardly looked like a team that had managed just 55 points in its first four games. Teschner was 11-for-20 for 230 yards and TD throws of 16 and 27 yards to Moreno. He set up a third score with an 81-yard bomb to Julian Turner. Josh Robinson’s 18-carry, 155-yard night featured a 68-yard touchdown scamper. 

As the evening wore on, some after-the-whistle skirmishing spoke to both teams’ frustration with the officiating. Charitably speaking, the men in stripes were inconsistent with some of their calls, but, candidly speaking, two interceptions, a lost fumble, a blocked punt and careless penalties that wiped out two first-down gains were just as complicit in the Lions’ loss as suspect officiating. 

Next up for Leo is a trip to Woodstock for a meeting with Marian Central Catholic (1-3) on Friday, Oct. 1. The Lions find themselves needing to win three of their final four games to be assured of a playoff berth.