The Cook County Game of the Week as the 2012 season opens is the Palatine Pirates hosting the defending Class 5A state champion Montini Broncos. The two teams played to open the 2011 season as well with the Broncos winning a tight 26-21 affair at home. Palatine would finish last season with a 9-2 record while Montini would win the state title with a 12-2 record. The Pirates come in with another year of experience under their belts and several players who have been on the varsity team since early in their high school careers including senior Jesse Bobbit, who is getting looks from Big Ten schools like Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin. Keep an eye on running back Cam Kuksa and quarterback Ethan Oiles as well as the Pirates try to get a mention of revenge from last season. Bobbit at the safety will have the challenge of trying to slow down a Broncos attack that scored 70 points in the state title game in 2011.
For Montini, a lot of their starters from last season’s team have graduated but the team still have wide receiver Joe Borsellino, who had over 1,000 yards receiving last season and running back Dimitri Taylor, who rushed for over 1,000 yards. The sophomore class that is now on the varsity squad went 9-0 last season at that level and that level of success is something that is not only expected but demanded at Montini. Taylor will be helped by having offensive lineman David Sarkan and Tate Briggs on the left side of the line returning. Briggs has several Mid-American Conference schools after him including Western Michigan and Ball State and is a big-time talent. The offense scored 43 points a game in 2011 and it will be interesting to see if that level of offense continues in 2012.
This is a classic battle of offense versus defense with these two teams. I think the home crowd and a big night from Kuksa will carry the Pirates to victory on opening night in Palatine. I’ll take Palatine 23-17.