Saturday in Champaign was shaped by defensive battles.
Starting off with the 5A State Championship game, which Montini won over Morris 19-6.
Montini came into the match off of a comeback semifinals victory over Joliet Catholic -- and clearly came into the finals with momentum. Enough momentum to make it 4 state championships in a row.
Montini's defense was the story of the day, led by senior defensive end Freddy Beaugard and junior defensive end Dylan Thompson.
Beaugard, who has offers from North Dakota, Eastern Illinois and Western Michigan, racked up 7 solo tackles, 2 assisted, 3 tackles for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble.
Thompson, who had one of the biggest plays of the day when he sacked Morris quarterback Zach Cinnamon on fourth and goal --for a loss of 16 yards. The 2014 prospect racked up 6 total tackles, and half o f those were tackles for loss.
Also impressive was Morris linebacker Jeffery Perry who is committed to Central Michigan and totaled 6 tackles on the day, as well as 72 rushing yards and 54 receiving yards.
Indiana tight end/defensive end commit Danny Friend notched 3 tackles, two pass breakups, and two catches for 14 yards.
Moving onto the 6A State Championship where Crete-Monee wide receiver/free safety Laquon Treadwell tore up the field.
He led the Warriors to a 33-26 win over Cary-Grove, by leading the team in rushing (93 yards on 6 carries), receiving (85 yards on 6 catches), tackles (12 -- along with Nyles Morgan and Travelle Smith each with 12), totaling two touchdowns, plus a pivotal interception which he ran back for 22 yards.
After the game, Cary-Grove head coach Brad Seaburg was asked about Treadwell and replied "He made plays that I don't think I have ever seen a high school player make." Treadwell hinted he will focus on recruiting next, and take visits to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss in the near future.
It wasn't just Treadwell that lit up the field for Crete-Monee. Junior linebacker Nyles Morgan recorded 12 tackles and two forced fumbles on the day -- to go along with some really big hits.
Plus senior wide receiver Lance Lenior added a touchdown and another 67 receiving yards on 5 catches.
Onto, the 7A title game which was one of the most anticipated match-ups of the season. In a battle of undefeated schools, Glenbard West took on Lincoln-Way East and it came down to the wire.
In the end, Glenbard West would top Lincoln Way-East 10-8 after a wild forth quarter.
Player of the game would have to go to Glenbard West's defense.
Junior defensive back Hayden Carlson was electric Saturday under the lights -- delivering a devastating hit on Northern Illiniois quarterback commit Tommy Fuessel as he was rushing on 4th down. Carlson stopped him dead in his tracks, and prevented him from getting the first down.
He also made a huge impact thoughtou the rest of the game, racking up 14 tackles, including one for loss. Ruben Dunbar also had an impressive game, with two pass breakups, a sack and 8 tackles.
Glenbard West put 10 points up in the first half, and didn't score the rest of the game. Their only touchdown came from Vanderbilt tight end commit Nathan Marcus on a 25-yard lob to the endzone.
Marcus finished with 5 catches for 55 yards as well as a sack.
Lincoln-Way East got good play from 2014 offensive lineman Nick Allegretti, senior quarterback Tommy Fuessel (Northern Illinois commit) and wide receiver Justin Corbett.
Last on the day, was the 8A State Championship where Mount Carmel defeated Glenbard North 28-14.
Even though Glenbard North junior running back Justin Jackson had an impressive playoff run, Mount Carmel found a way to stop him when it mattered. Jackson touched the ball 28 times for 80 yards, and scored off of a 76 yard interception return.
Jackson showed why he has offers from Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Boston College and others during the state championship run.
Mount Carmel was led by senior running back and Northern Illinois commit Draco Smith who carried the ball 7 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He took one 78 yards in the second quarter, which gave Mount Carmel the momentum.
Also impressive was junior defensive lineman Enoch Smith Jr., who had four tackles on the night two sacks and three tackles for loss total.