MIKE NIETO: Former Crete-Monee football player cheers on his alma mater

2012-11-08T18:00:00Z 2012-11-09T00:13:15Z MIKE NIETO: Former Crete-Monee football player cheers on his alma materMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
November 08, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

Richard Blievernicht may just throw on his old letterman's sweater -- the one that reads: "K.V.C. Champs" -- when he goes to Saturday's Class 6A quarterfinal football game at Crete-Monee High School.

The Crete resident was a starter on the 1952 team, which went 9-0 and won the Kankakee Valley Conference title. It was the first Crete-Monee football team to finish undefeated as there were no playoffs back then.

This is the 60th anniversary of that team and Blievernicht (Class of 1953) is one of the few surviving members. Last year's team went 9-0 in the regular season, but fell in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. This year's team is 11-0 and plays Ottawa at 6 p.m. Saturday in a quarterfinal game.

Blievernicht wants this team to finish undefeated with a trophy at Champaign on Thanksgiving weekend.

"I want them to win it all," Blievernicht said. "That would be great for the school, community and the few of us left from that '52 team."

Blievernicht spent a part of Tuesday evening working on the boiler at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Crete, something he has done since he was a center on the Warriors team.

"I've been fixing it since I was in high school," Blievernicht said. "I guess it has been 60 years. That's kind of funny isn't it?"

He wants to see a state title, and said this team can do it.

"The defense has been really good and they almost seem more like a professional team with all that passing," he said. "The whole community should really be proud of what they have done. I hope they get behind them on Saturday and we get a good crowd out there."

There is more to be done. This is the program's third quarterfinal appearance in the last four years. It is the first time Crete will host a quarterfinal. The 11 wins are a program record, but the players know anything less of 14 wins won't cut it by the standard that has been set by Jerry Verde at Crete-Monee.

The downside is that Crete-Moee would play a semifinal on the road, but it has to win first. If the Warriors win, a semifinal game is a semifinal game and you are there.

Ottawa is a pretty physical team and like the Warriors, came back to win. The Warriors cannot turn the ball over seven times and expect to come out on top.

Blievernicht had the chance to talk to the team last year when assistant coach John Konecki brought him on the field.

"They got done with their warmups under the goalpost, and Coach (Verde) blew his whistle and said 'I got someone you need to meet,'" and he introduced me," Blievernicht said. "It was 59 years, but I told them they meant a lot to me and I hope 59 years from now, they can come and talk to the Crete football team. I guess now, it will be 60 years from now and they can tell about how they won a state championship."

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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