CRETE | Their competitive nature goes back to when they were members of the Crete Bulldogs and University Park Lions.
Back then, Marcus Terrell and Lance Lenoir were Bulldogs, and LaQuon Treadwell was a Lion.
All three have become a big part of Crete-Monee High School football history and the three seniors hope to make this the most exciting season in the program's history.
Quarterback Terrell and wide receivers Treadwell and Lenoir can light up a scoreboard so quickly Commonwealth Edison may have a brown out. If they were a car company, they would be the "Big Three." Last year, they helped lead Crete-Monee to its first undefeated regular season since 1952.
Terrell was 199-of-301 passing for 2,822 yards and 29 touchdowns. He completed 66 percent of his passes and threw just four interceptions. Treadwell, who has offers from 23 schools, caught a school-record 75 passes for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns. Lenoir had 48 catches for 625 yards and three touchdowns.
They still go back to their freshman year when Lenoir and Treadwell gave each other a hard time.
"We used to argue who had the better players, Crete or U.P. and Marcus and me would say Crete," Lenoir said. "Quon and I would go at it, knowing we were on the same team now."
Treadwell just shrugged.
"Can't win," Treadwell said of the friendly argument. "We still now go at it a little bit, but in fun. We know what our goal is and we are Warriors."
All three have made big names for themselves with their big-play capabilities and big numbers. Especially Treadwell, who is rated as the top uncommitted prospect in Illinois by one scouring service, has 23 college scholarship offers and is one of the nation's top prospects. Terrell and Lenoir are gaining notice.
"A few schools asked me who my quarterback was and I told them," Treadwell said. "We joke, but we are good friends and love to win."
Maybe it is a bulldog mentality or the heart of a lion which makes them and Crete-Monee go.
Ironically, Treadwell started as the freshman team quarterback and Terrell was a wide receiver. When Treadwell moved to varsity as a wide receiver sophomore year, Terrell became the sophomore team's quarterback.
No matter from where they came, they know where they want to be Thanksgiving weekend. They won't talk about it, but the competitive fires can almost be seen in their eyes when talking about football, their teammates and the 2012 season which begins Friday when the Warriors host T.F. South.
They laugh and joke, but are serious on the field. Among the smiles of the three seniors, there is a frown when "Peoria Richwoods" is mentioned.
"Peoria. We remember that," Lenoir said. "We remember that game. Still on my mind."
Crete was 10-1 last year, but looked like it was on its way to its third consecutive Class 6A quarterfinal appearance and was ranked No. 1 in Class 6A. Something didn't play in Peoria. The Warriors made mistakes, and when they tried to come back, it was too late in a 51-35 loss.
"It proves you have to be ready every play, every game," said Treadwell, The Times Offensive Player of the Year. "We put in a lot of time this summer and we know nothing is given."
They also know they are successful because they have good players around them: the offensive line, the defense and a good running game with Kyle Tilley and DeShawn Smith.
"We got a lot of good players," Terrell said. "If Quon is (triple)-teamed, I can go to Lance or if Lance is covered, Quon will be open. We can run the ball and we have a real good offensive line.
"The defense, they always put us in good position and they stopped people."
Not many people have stopped either of them, or even slowed them. They can stretch the field, and every time they touch the ball it is a potential touchdown.
"I know Lance is a big-play guy and I know what Marcus can do," Treadwell said. "We all know where each other is on the field. We just work well together."
That is what coach Jerry Verde said about his three musketeers.
"Marcus, Lance and Quon work very well together. They are all experts at our offense and able to easily make adjustments," Verde said. "What makes them unique is that they are not only very athletic and talented, but also tough and extremely competitive."