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Monticello’s Alek Bundy scores a touchdown as teammate Matt Kerr and Byron’s Ian Palzkill react during the class 3A state championship at Memorial Stadium,

Monticello had been knocking on the door for a long time. In 2018, the Sages finally broke through.

Monticello had lost in six previous trips to the state semifinals, but this year beat Carlinville in the semifinals, then beat Byron 24-20 in the Class 3A state title game.

In Hall of Fame coach Cully Welter's  10th year with the Sages, Monticello entered the season as a fast but undersized team with hopes of making state. But even Monticello's most ardent supporter couldn't have guessed the Sages would make it look so easy. 

In the semifinals, Monticello faced another undefeated team in Carlinville, but played what might have been its best game of the season in a 40-14 win to finally break the Sages' semifinals curse.

Monticello finally ran into adversity in the championship game against a Byron team that had knocked the Sages out in the second round the season before. But the Sages' Alek Bundy intercepted Isaac Stickler's halfback pass to all but seal the game on the way to a 24-20 win — a perfect way to cap Bundy's monster game. He finished with 136 receiving yards and two touchdowns to go along with a rushing touchdown.

For Welter, who won three state titles as coach of Aledo, the title was his first since 2002. It was the first championship of any kind for defensive coordinator Brit Miller, a former Eisenhower and Illinois star who played in the NFL.


 

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Contact Justin Conn at (217) 421-7971. Follow him on Twitter: @jconnHR

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Sports Editor

Sports editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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