LANSING | Times No. 3 and Associated Press No. 1 Crete-Monee and T.F. South were both ready to kick off the 2013 football season, but the weather had other plans.
With time winding down in the sophomore game and both varsity teams warmed up and ready to get the season underway, lightning struck and Crete’s title defense was put on hold for another day.
After a perfect season capped off with a Class 6A state title in 2012 the Warriors were ready to get things underway and put their 14-game unbeaten streak on the line as they looked to repeat last season’s success.
“You have to attack, no one defends anything. Attack, attack, attack that’s George Patton.” said Crete coach John Konecki about defending the school’s first state title.
“They were chomping at the bit and we were ready to go,” Konecki said. “But we’ll treat this as a dress rehearsal. We’ve got all the logistics down now we’ll go home and they’ll take care of themselves and come tomorrow they’ll be fine.”
The sentiment was much the same in the South locker room as the Rebels were looking to avenge last year’s 38–7 season opening loss to the Warriors.
“You have to be excited to play the state champs, how many times do you get to do that?.” Rebels coach Tom Padjen said. “They’ve beat us two of the last three years. Last season we had a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter when the roof caved in.”
After an entire summer preparing for opening night there could be concerns that the teams won’t be able to get to the same level emotionally today, but both coaches seemed to down play any chance of that happening.
“Our guys handled it well, there’s a lot of veterans on this team and they know how to prepare,” Konecki said. “This isn’t the first time we’ve had a game postponed we’ll come back tomorrow and they’ll be ready to go.”
It was much the same in the South locker room for Padjen, who has 212 career victories at T.F. South under his belt.
“We were stretched out and ready to go but the weather wouldn’t cooperate.” Padjen said. “You just have to adjust, this won’t be the first time we just have to get ready to go tomorrow.”
If there was any concern about the Rebels being ready to do it all again, Padjen had a simple message for his team before they left the locker room.
“This is a playoff game, we’re playing the state champs, you want to be a playoff team you have to prepare for a playoff game.” Padjen said. “Go home rest, eat a couple good meals and come back ready for tomorrow (Saturday).”