CHAMPAIGN | It wasn’t just LaQuon Treadwell who stood out in Crete-Monee’s 33-26 Class 6A championship-winning victory over Cary-Grove on Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors had a host of players contribute in capturing their first state team title in any sport.
But Treadwell’s standout performance as the Warriors capped off an unbeaten season is as good as any with which to start.
He scored twice, opening the game with a 69-yard touchdown run and commencing the second half with a 57-yard touchdown reception from Marcus Terrell.
He caught six passes for 85 yards, and ran six times for 93 yards. Aside from having a hand in 178 yards of Crete-Monee’s 333 offensive yards, he kicked one extra point and ran for another conversion, totaling 15 points for the game.
Yet his biggest contribution might have been on defense.
Playing both ways the entire game, Treadwell had 12 tackles plus a game-changing interception, one of four turnovers the Warriors caused, and broke up another of Quinn Baker’s six passes.
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“In any big game, your playmakers make plays,” Warriors coach Jerry Verde said. “That’s why they’re at free safety, at quarterback. He’s been making big plays since he was a sophomore.
"That’s what kind of kid he is.”
Verde was not alone in his opinion.
“He made some plays we’ve never seen people make,” said admiring Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaberg. “The interception was pretty unbelievable, where he backed off the line of scrimmage; and the wheel route where he closed and broke up a pass.”
Then there was Treadwell’s contribution on offense.
Cary-Grove sophomore defensive back Matt Sutherland will see him and his white No. 6 jersey running away from him in his nightmares. Treadwell bolted by him twice en route to the end zone.
“It’s my preparation,” Treadwell explained. “I watch film so much, I know what’s going on before it happens. The way I train, it’s like things come to me.”
Treadwell thought his defensive play was “probably” his better contribution to Crete-Monee football’s day of days.
“We needed some big stops, some big hits,” Treadwell said. “Once I moved back to free safety, I had to fill a couple lanes. I tried to work on defense the most, because I knew it would decide the game.”
Because he made things like the interception happen. Treadwell had just fumbled away a reception, Cary-Grove taking over on the Warriors' 22 trailing by five points with 4:41 left in the third quarter.
Seaberg had a notion that a big play would go a long way. But it was Treadwell who made it, picking off Baker’s pass on the Crete-Monee 12 and escaping to the 33 even as a Trojans player committed a personal foul.
Then the Warriors made another. Marcus Terrell sent a pass to Lance Lenoir, who had been in sick bay much of the week. He grabbed it, faked out Sutherland and raced 52 yards to the end zone for a 27-16 lead.
Terrell was 19-of-23 for 220 yards, hitting DeShawn Duncan for the first of his three touchdown passes.)
Deon Benton’s alert fumble recovery and 5-yard score three snaps into Cary-Grove’s next series pushed Crete-Monee ahead 33-16 with 2:51 left in the third quarter.
Under normal circumstances, that would be a comfortable lead. In a state title game, not so much.
Baker scored to cap a 13-play, 70-yard drive early in the fourth quarter, cutting Cary-Grove’s deficit to 10 points, and led the Trojans (13-1) to the Warriors’ 13 on the next drive, setting up Garrett Glueck’s 30-yard field goal.
The lead was a touchdown with 3:02 to play. Crete-Monee could only bleed 69 seconds off the clock, but the Warriors’ sterling defense clamped down and Cary-Grove went four-and-out.
Two victory formations later by Terrell, the 4,500 Crete-Monee fans watched the clock run down, saw their heroes join in on an end zone dog pile, and accept the Class 6A championship trophy.
“The beautiful thing about a state championship, having been a part of one as a player (at Marian Catholic), is you don’t understand the importance of it until months and years later,” Verde said.
“These guys will be connected for life now.”