Football: Lincoln-Way West KOs Lincoln-Way Central 42-13
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org October 25, 2013 11:36PM
Adam Knerr, of Lincoln-Way West, runs in for the score against Lincoln-Way Central at Lincoln-Way Central, Friday, October 25th, 2013, in New Lenox. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 26, 2013 4:29PM
Sometimes you have to tip your cap to your opponent.
On the night he was hoping to lead his team into the playoffs, Lincoln-Way Central coach Hud Venerable found himself in that unenviable position.
“They were impressive,” Venerable said Friday night after SouthWest Suburban Red champion Lincoln-Way West whipped Central 42-13 before a packed house at Central, denying the Knights a playoff berth.
Central (4-5, 3-4) finished below .500 but was in every previous game and suffered a few tough losses. This time, the Knights fumbled five times, losing three, and their defense was unable to contend with a West offense that features running back Javier Montalvo.
“Their offense did a great job,” Venerable said of the Warriors (8-1, 7-0). “Their line was getting a great push, and he (Montalvo) is an outstanding running back. He is a load.”
It was another night at the office for Montalvo, who came in averaging well over 200 yards a game. With center Griffin Sullivan, guards Jake Zola and Bryan Brokop and tackles Brennan Mulroe and Jake Heckler providing the escort service against a Central defense that had played well all year, Montalvo rushed for 213 yards in 24 carries and scored three touchdowns in less than three quarters.
“Javy is my all-time favorite person ever to block for,” Mulroe said.
The complement to Montalvo came from the passing of quarterback Justin Keuch, who hit 9-of-16 passes for 105 yards and a 21-yard touchdown to Mason Mahoney (3 receptions, 48 yards).
“I threw it up high to Mahoney and he went up and got it,” Keuch said.
Another big moment for Keuch came after Brad Nolan’s 64-yard punt died at the West 1. He hit Jake Robbins for with 11- and 12-yard passes to get the Warriors some breathing room. Montalvo broke a 39-yard run and a 9-yarder and Keuch finished it off with the TD pass to Mahoney.
“I decided to respond when coach (Dave) Ernst called my number,” Keuch said of throwing to ignite the 99-yard drive. “He (Montalvo) always responds.”
“We trust our guys so much that there is no fear of calling anything, anywhere,” Ernst said. “We know they will execute what’s planned.”
The longest drive possible gave the Warriors a 28-6 halftime lead, and when they scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter, Ernst emptied the bench.
Dave Montalvo, Javier’s brother, had a third quarter to remember, forcing a fumble on a kickoff return and intercepting a pass a yard deep in the end zone and returning it 70 yards to the Central 31.
West’s John Noland, Kyle Callaghan and Mike Miller recovered Central fumbles. Noland’s came in the first quarter on the play after the Knights’ Dan Hepfinger recovered a Warriors’ fumble. West then drove 50 yards to score and go ahead 14-0.
“We put the ball on the ground far too many times,” Venerable said. “That’s been an issue. We’re not as solid with ball security as we need to be.”