CHAMPAIGN | Lance Lenoir, battling a severe case of the flu, went to his doctor twice this week.
Friday night, less than 18 hours before Crete-Monee kicked off in the Class 6A championship game, Lenoir was hooked up to an IV to replenish fluids.
But there was never any question in his mind that, weak as he felt, he’d line up for the Warriors against Cary-Grove.
“I wasn’t concerned,” Lenoir said. “I was going to pull through whether I was real sick or not.”
His first visit to the doctor resulted in no treatment.
But after missing practice, he went back Friday night. That might have been the difference in his being chipper enough to catch five passes worth 67 yards, including the 52-yard touchdown that gave the Warriors a 27-16 lead.
“He’s been sick for about 10 days, missed a couple of days of practice,” coach Jerry Verde said. “It shows the kind of courage he has, the kind of kid he is.”
Lenoir, like LaQuon Treadwell and quarterback Marcus Terrell, has schools lining up with scholarship offers. But he might not be headed to medical school. Lenoir said his fever was “108 or 110” degrees earlier this week.
“It felt like 108-110,” he said.
Warriors short only on time: Cary-Grove, an option squad, ran 70 times for 263 yards, controlled the clock for 31:38 of 48 minutes, and never enjoyed the lead.
Fullback Kyle Norberg’s 117-yards on 30 carries led the Trojans.
“It’s not a conventional option, it’s a first-threat thing,” Verde said. “And when the blocking scheme changes...”
Yet the Warriors scored 27 points in the 16:22 they made the ball, plus got a touchdown from Deon Benton’s fumble-recovery score.
Lenoir gaining interest: Lenoir said he is getting looks from Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, Boston College, Northern Illinois and Eastern Illinois.
He had 69 catches for 1,113 yards and 15 touchdowns for the season.
Did you know?: Jerry Verde's dad Gerry is a 1968 Mount Carmel graduate.
Coach Verde grew up in Crete, but is a Marian Catholic graduate.
"My dad will be pulling for the Caravan tonight (Saturday)," Coach Verde said after this team won the Class 6A title.
Long journey: Frank Lenti Jr.'s day started in Evanston and ended up back in Champaign to watch his alma mater Mount Carmel play Glenbard North for the Class 8A state title.
Lenti is a production specialist for the University of Illinois' Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and was at the Illinois loss to Northwestern in the morning.
His dad, Frank, is Mount Carmel's coach. Lenti Jr. was a member of Mount Carmel's last state championship team in 2002.
Next year ... : The Class 8A game is the last one at Memorial Stadium for two years.
Next year's host is Huskie Stadium in DeKalb. It will rotate between DeKalb and Champaign. Even years will be in Champaign and odd in DeKalb.
The reason is with the Big Ten having to play on Thanksgiving weekend, Illinois will be home every other year.