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Sickles HS graduate leading UCF Knights football team through pandemic


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Anthony Montalvo, a defensive lineman from Sickles High School, walked onto the football team at the University of Central Florida about three years ago. 

Since then Montalvo has grown tremendously as a person and as a player in that time receiving a scholarship and, now, leading his teammates through this pandemic. 

Montalvo was one of three players chosen by the coaches to lead a handful of other players on the defensive line. A role he is embracing even if it makes him uncomfortable. 

“I have to get comfortable being uncomfortable,” he admitted.

Montalvo seems to be moving in the correct direction even if it includes unconventional workouts during the pandemic.

“I actually went to Home Depot and bought four 50 pound sand bags,” he said. “I basically grabbed Gorilla Tape and I taped the whole thing around and I am slamming that.”

Montalvo is leading by example tossing those sandbags in a backpack and perfecting the art of putting miles on a car. He has been pushing the vehicle through the parking lot of his apartment complex.

“One guy asked me if I needed help,” said Montalvo, “because he thought my car was broken down. I was like, ‘I am doing this for exercise,’ and he looked at me like I was crazy!”

He might be crazy considering how far he has come in his college career. His coach surprised him with a scholarship in October.

“When he said it, I was happy but, when my teammates were jumping around me, pouring water on me, that is what made me really feel happy that they were happy for me,” explained Montalvo.

Despite the physical distance between the players during this pandemic, they could not be closer. You have to assume Montalvo is a huge part of the reason.

“I cannot really leave them out of this,” he said. “We are all motivating each other now basically trying to get each other to work out more because we are not sure when we are coming back so we are trying to make sure we are all holding each other accountable. I think that, as soon as we get back, everyone is going to be 100% in.”

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