Lincoln-Way West coach Dave Ernst said he inadvertently has called Warriors senior running back Javier Montalvo “Louie” on a couple of occasions.
The reason is Ernst was Providence’s offensive coordinator in the mid-1990s, when tailback Louis Medina helped the Celtics to multiple state titles and himself into the IHSA record books. In some ways, Montalvo reminds Ernst of Medina. That is quite the compliment.
“Louie said he has been reading about Javy, some of his numbers, and he came out to our game last Friday night to see him,” Ernst said. “He got a chance to talk with him after the game.”
“I was surprised to see him,” Montalvo said. “He told me good job, keep it up, that sort of thing.”
The Warriors whipped SouthWest Suburban Red rival Andrew 42-14. All the soft-spoken Montalvo did was rush for 261 yards in 21 carries, catch three passes for 94 and score five touchdowns.
Another day at the office for a kid who stays busy and competes. He also wrestles — he qualified for state last season at 182 pounds — and plays outfield and bats leadoff for the baseball team. He was all-conference in baseball as a sophomore.
“I like all three sports,” Montalvo said. “I started playing them when I was young, liked them a lot and wanted to keep going with them. I’ll decide later what I’m going to do after this year.”
“Javy is strong, has speed and is tough,” Ernst said. “He also is one of the most coachable kids I have had. The way he reads the defense, blocks and gets into his routes, he is the definition of a complete running back. He lines up seven yards deep in the ‘I’ and makes stuff happen for you.”
After opening with a loss to Sycamore, West has breezed to four straight wins. Montalvo sat out nearly two full games when a nerve was hit early in Week 2 against Bloom and his right hand would go numb.
Ernst said sitting was not Montalvo’s idea. He wanted to play, and not for personal glory.
“It’s all team with Javy,” Ernst said. “He wants to be out there helping us win. If you asked him how many yards he gained, he probably wouldn’t know.”
“Our team is starting to put it all together,” Montalvo said. “It’s starting to happen. The way last year ended (21-20 overtime loss to Joliet Catholic — by less than a yard — in the Class 5A quarterfinals) made us want to come back and do more so bad.”
Montalvo moved into the starting lineup during his junior season after an injury to a teammate. He never relinquished the position, finishing with more than 1,000 yards.
This fall, he has rushed for 646 yards, and that’s in three games, plus two carries against Bloom.
The West defense has been slamming the door, and Louie — make that Javy — is doing his best to ensure the offense keeps pace.