CRETE | Nearby first-quarter lightning interrupted Crete-Monee's homecoming game with Bloom Township Friday night and two quarters later, the Warriors began to provide the thunder.
The Times' No. 2 ranked Warriors broke open a tight game in the second half by intercepting three passes that led to two touchdowns as part of their 32-7 Southland Athletic Conference win.
"We knew (the Blazing Trojans) were going to come out and play their best, because every team tries to play their best against us in conference," said Warriors defensive back Anthony Standifer, who intercepted two passes. "We had never faced adversity before, because we had been blowing everybody out, but in the second half we had to pick it up."
Standifer, who is committed to play at Michigan next season, made his first interception midway through the third quarter deep in Blazing Trojans territory. Four plays later, Kyle Tilly dove in for a 3-yard touchdown to give the Warriors an 18-7 lead.
The Warriors (6-0, 2-0) scored again on their next possession, driving 99 yards in 15 plays. Marcus Terrell (193 yards passing, three TDs) completed six passes during the drive that ate up 5 minutes, 26 seconds of clock, including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Sykes on third-and-goal that put the Warriors ahead, 25-7, early in the fourth quarter.
Crete-Monee put the game away four plays later when Aaron Moore intercepted a sideline pass from Blazing Trojan LaVante Blackful, which Moore returned 17 yards for the final score of the contest.
Boom (1-5, 0-3) was often its own worst enemy in the second half, as the Blazing Trojans were whistled for 100 yards in penalties in the final two quarters.
"We made some mistakes at inopportune times," Bloom Township coach Tony Palombi said. "We lost our cool and let them get into our heads. (The Warriors) are a great ballclub, but we can't let them dictate how we play, and we kind of let that happen tonight."
Play of the contest was halted for 30 minutes less than 3 minutes into the first quarter after lightning was spotted nearby. After play resumed, the Warriors jumped to a 12-0 first-quarter lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Terrell to LaQuan Treadwell. Bloom forced a pair of first-half fumbles, the second of which was recovered by James Hayes deep in Warriors territory in the second quarter.
On the next play after the turnover, Blackful darted up the middle on a keeper for a 12-yard touchdown that cut the Warriors lead to 12-7 by halftime.
"In a different situation, who knows how that game turns out," Warriors coach Jerry Verde said. "I'm proud of the way we played in the second half, but we still have a lot of things to work on."