CRETE | Revenge might in fact be good served cold, but it is even better when it also comes at the last minute.
On a chilly Saturday afternoon at Crete-Monee High School, the Warriors faced the team that upset them in the Class 6A playoffs last year, but this time it was the Warriors who pulled off a stunner.
Trailing Peoria Richwoods by 11 points heading into the final quarter, Warriors do-it-all standout LaQuon Treadwell sparked the state's top-ranked Class 6A team with an interception return for a touchdown, then capped off the game's turnabout in momentum with a 1-yard plunge late in the contest to lift the Warriors to a 35-32 victory over the Knights.
The Warriors (11-0) will next host Ottawa in the quarterfinals. Ottawa defeated Rock Island 21-20 on Saturday.
"We've exorcized the demons," Warriors coach Jerry Verde said of Saturday's win. "After what happened last year with a total collapse for the entire game, you question everything you do as a coach. But we planned, and the kids planned a response to this time ... and now we can finally put this away."
The Knights (8-3) stunned the Warriors with 20 points in a 2-minute, 5-second span in the third quarter to grab a 32-21 lead. The first of the three scores was set up by an 82-yard fumble return by Knight lineman Zach Jackson. The second touchdown, which came 15 seconds later, happened when Tyler Brown recovered a fumble in the end zone. Jeremye Johnson later ran 60 yards to give the Knights a 32-21 lead with 4:52 left in the third quarter.
"At first, everybody's head was dropping," Warriors linebacker Nyles Morgan said of the game's abrupt turnabout. "But the leaders of the team, we picked our team up and said that the game is not over and we've got to keep on playing, and that is what we did."
Treadwell's 53-yard interception return for touchdown early in the fourth quarter cut the lead to four points. The Warriors defense came up big again on the Knights next possession, as they forced a turnover on downs at the Warrior 21 yard line.
Warriors quarterback Marcus Terrell, in turn, engineered a 10-play Warrior drive capped by Treadwell's touchdown plunge that gave the Warriors the winning margin with just 1:46 left on the clock.
The Warriors turned the ball over seven times Saturday. Terrell threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted three times, while Treadwell rushed for two touchdowns and caught four passes for 74 yards. The Warrior defense also held Knight running back Kendrick Foster to 46 yards on 22 carries.