CRETE | Rich East surprised Crete-Monee by scoring a touchdown on the Warriors in Friday night's conference showdown.
But the Times No. 1 and Class 6A No. 1 Warriors left the Rockets dumfounded, scoring 38 unanswered points to win 38-12 in the Southland Athletic Conference finale.
Crete finished as conference champs with a 5-0 record and finished the regular season 9-0.
In the huddle after the game, Crete coach Jerry Verde made sure his team understood what the outcome meant.
"This is not the destination," he shouted at his team. "Five more."
The Warriors haven't lost a SAC game dating back to the conference's founding in 2009. They've won 20 straight conference games.
Rich East threatened that unbeaten streak, coming out strong with a fumble recovery and a sack early in the first quarter.
Then in the second, Kenneth Naylor broke free for a 62-yard run and Jawaun Ward punched it in from 2-yards out to give the Rockets a 7-0 lead at the 10:39.
"It was a shocker," Crete star Laquon Treadwell said of the touchdown.
Crete had only given up 49 points all season.
"Last year in the playoffs we were hit in the mouth like that," Treadwell added. "I took it upon myself to pick our guys up. We'd never given up a touchdown like that. We needed to wake up. We can't start slow."
Crete responded like an undefeated team does.
With first and 10 from the 28, Marcus Terrell hit Lance Lenoir with a touchdown pass with 6:57 left before halftime.
Jaylen Dunlap then intercepted a Malcolm Miller pass and Terrell hooked up with DeShawn Duncan for another TD.
"In the first half we had our initial drive stopped and that's an issue we've not dealt with," Verde said. "We don't have much adversity. Rich East played us tough. We had to rise up and get it done and our leaders did that."
Kyle Tilley scored twice in the second half on runs of 7 and 5 yards.
Lenoir also scored in the third quarter on a 37-yard pass play. He finished with seven receptions for 96 yards.
Treadwell had eight catches for 88 yards, while Terrell was 25 of 36 for 233 yards and three touchdowns.
Treadwell also added an interception.
"I felt like it was a pass to me," he said. "he had to scramble to pass and when he broke the ball was hanging in the air for me."