Montalvo, Lincoln-Way West run over Rochelle

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Given an opportunity Javier Montalvo has delivered. The Lincoln-Way West junior running back racked up 193 yards on 18 carriesand scored a pair of touchdowns as the Warriors ran over Rochellewith a 35-0 thumpingin the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs on Friday night in Rochelle. The Warriors (7-3) will face the winner ofSaturday’sBelvidereat Kaneland game in the second round. Rochelle finished the season at 6-4. With West’s record at .500 after week six, Montalvo was inserted in the lineup as a starter. Hemade the most of it by rushing for 208 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries ina week seven39-16 victory over Stagg. He hasn’t slowed down since and either have the Warriors in winning four in a row. “I got more playing time starting with the Stagg game,”Montalvo said. “The first time I started, I was nervous and stuff. But I just work hard and the blocking has beenthe best. The O-line is great.”

Montalvo set the tone on the opening play from scrimmage, as he ripped off a 25-yard run. Nine plays later senior running back Rich Kruis was in the end zone on one-yard run for the first of his three touchdowns. “We had three running backs to start the season, but Nick Dangles went down with an injury,” West coach Dave Ernst said. “Javier stepped up in that role. I couldn’t be prouder of this group of guys. We’re a different team than we were four weeks ago.” Kruis scored again from seven yards out to increase the lead to 14-0 with 3:03 left in the first quarter. In the second quarter Montalvo was off to the races with touchdown runs of 21 and 36 yards. He broke out of a tackle each time and went the distance as West led 28-0 at halftime.

“The difference is on offense we’ve put it all together,” Montalvo said. “I just followed great blocks by my line and receivers.” The Warriors final touchdown came on a two-yard run by Kruis (10 carries, 50 yards)midway through the third quarter. The defense did the rest,handing the Hubs their first shutout of the year. “To come here we had to drive by Sycamore, and we didn’t want that to happen again,” West senior defensive lineman Matt Soraghan said of his teams season opening 19-13 loss at Sycamore. “(Defensive) coach [Luke] Lokanc told us before the Stagg game that the playoffs were on the line and we’ve had that mentality ever since. We just want to keep buying ourselves more time, especially the seniors.” Alex Gray had an interception and Ray Rodriquez recovered a fumble as West’s first string defense limited the Hubs to 73 yards in their first six possessions. Rochellesenior running back Tony Walsh was injured on a carry with 6:27 left in the third quarter and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.

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