CHICAGO HEIGHTS – After being outplayed by Bloom Township for the first three quarters, Lincoln-Way West’s footbakll team went off for three fourth-quarter touchdowns and rolled to a a 27-13 nonconference victory.
Senior running back Gabe Montalvo rushed for 152 of his game-high 174 yards and scored three touchdowns in the second half. After running over the Blazing Trojans in the second half, Montalvo kept running right out of the stadium, to a family wedding.
Trailing, 13-12, with 10:52 left in the game, West quarterback Connor Lowman (3 for 13 passing, 106 yards) hit tight end Ben Zordani for a 66-yard touchdown strike. Lowman found Montalvo for the two-point conversion, and a 20-13 Warrior lead.
“Connor threw a perfect pass to me and I just raced toward the end zone,” Zordani said. “The Bloom defense almost caught me at the goal line, so I dove into the end zone. It was an amazing feeling.”
The start of the game was delayed two hours because of numerous delays in the sophomore game. The Warrior sophomores (2-0) survived those and Bloom, 13-6.
“I don’t believe the two-hour delay was the cause of our slow start,” West coach Dave Ernst said. “Bloom totally outplayed us and was the better team in the first half. Our defense played outstanding, especially in the first half, to keep us in the game.
“Connor threw a perfect pass to Ben and he outran everyone to the end zone for the game-winner. Our offensive line really blocked well and Gabe had a spectacular second half, and I am very happy to get out of here, with a win over a very good Bloom team.”
Bloom (0-2) dominated the Warriors in the first half, but only took a 6-0 lead into the halftime because the effort from the Warrior defense. Trey Telez (two sacks), sophomore Matt Murphy (interception), Cortez Michalski and Dan Wainwright stood tall as the Warriors twice turned away Bloom on a first-and-goal on the one, and then a first-and-goal at the 10 in the first half.
“We really had to step it up on defense today with the slow start of our offense,” Telez said. “We knew the offense would get going and we came away with a great team victory today.”
With 9:20 left in the third quarter, the Warriors had a seven-play, 71-yard scoring drive capped by Montalvo’s first touchdown from 18 yards out. At the 6:50 mark of the third quarter, Bloom quarterback Cornell Washington (12 carries, 143 yards), ran for a 54-yard touchdown. Antwan Jones’ PAT gave Bloom a 13-6 lead.
West (2-0) drove 61-yards in 12 plays, capped off by a 4-yard Montalvo touchdown. He carried the ball 10 times for 62 yards on the drive. The extra point was no good.
After Zordani’s TD catch, Murphy thwarted Bloom’s ensuing drive with a great interception and ran it back to the Bloom 32. But Bloom stopped Montalvo on a fourth and one at the goal line. On Bloom’s next series, Jake Price recovered a fumble at the Bloom 18, and Montalvo finished off the scoring with a 16-yard blast into the end zone.
“It was great to pick up the late interception for us,” Murphy said. “I work hard at doing anything that I can do to help us win. Being a sophomore, it gets a little nervous for me at times, but overall it is awesome to be playing with the varsity.”