When you look at Saturday's Class 6A semifinal football matchup between Crete-Monee and Lemont, you see a great matchup.
T.F. South football coach Tom Padjen has a pretty good perspective on the game as his Rebels played both teams.
T.F. South lost its season opener 38-7 at Crete-Monee, but won 21-20 in overtime at Lemont. Next year, the Rebels open with Crete-Monee and get Lemont in Week 9. Padjen would not pick a winner, but said he expects a close game.
"It is two contrasting styles, but two teams who are very good," Padjen said. "Both play good defense and both are very physical."
The Warriors love to pass as Marcus Terrell has thrown for 2,818 yards and his favorite targets, LaQuon Treadwell and Lance Lenoir, can break one at any time.
"Crete is so explosive and they just play fast," Padjen said. "They are so potent and can score from anywhere on the field. Treadwell is a man out there. You have to cover him and Lenoir on every play and that opens things up for their running game."
Lemont is a running team, though Padjen pointed out the Indians threw the ball 30 times a few weeks ago in a win over Richards. The last two weeks, Lemont has come back after being down.
"They have a big line with Tim McAuliffe and (LSU recruit Ethan) Pocic," Padjen said. "They can run the ball and their running back (Cristos) Giatras is very good."
One way to slow Crete's offense is to chew up the clock and keep the ball away from the Warriors. That may be hard, but not impossible. Neither team can afford three-and-outs, but you know there will be a few when two great defenses go up against two great offenses.
"They moved the ball last week (against Oak Forest) and their quarterback (Zach) Brosseau can throw too," Padjen said. "One team likes to pass, but has good running game, and one is a running team that can hurt you with the pass. That's what happens when two great programs meet.
"(Coach) Eric Michaelsen has done a great job at Lemont and Jerry Verde has built Crete into a state power.
Crete-Monee is in the semifinals for the first time, while Lemont is here for the second straight year and fourth overall.
Padjen said it is too close to call and I agree. I also concur with the veteran coach that these are two very-well coached and skilled teams.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.