CRETE | Their hopes of a repeat Class 6A title were stopped by Providence in the wet grass and mud Saturday afternoon.
Crete-Monee just couldn't come up with enough big plays when it needed to and fell 25-14 to the Celtics in a Class 6A first-round playoff game.
It was the Warriors' first home playoff loss since Champaign Centennial shut them out, 16-0 in 2006.
Though the No. 1 seed Warriors (8-2) had some big plays, they could not stop Providence senior Dominic Lagone, who rushed for 167 yards and three touchdowns.
With the No. 8 seed Celtics (6-4) trailing 12-7 in the third quarter and facing a fourth-and-1 at their own 42, Lagone picked up four yards to keep the drive going. It ended with him scoring on a 3-yard run to put his team up 18-14 with 2:18 left in the third. he would add another 3-yard score for insurance.
"They came up with a few big plays and that was one of them," Crete-Monee coach John Konecki said.
The Warriors, playing without starting quarterback Frank Douglas (back) and a new offensive line due to injuries fell behind 12-0 as Lagone scored on the opening drive. The Celtics added a field goal, and then Crete quarterback Clint Ratkovich was tackled by David Bell for a safety.
Ratkovich, who got the starting nod on Wednesday, engineered a 16-play, 57-yard drive capped with him scoring from the 2.
"I kind of had to learn a lot, real quick," Ratkovich said. "Being a running back, wide receiver, it was different. I asked Frank (Douglas) a lot and he helped.
"I actually felt pretty comfortable out there."
After the score, Crete's All-American linebacker Nyles Morgan intercepted a pass and returned it 54 yards to put the Warriors up 14-12 with 2:13 left in the half.
"I read the quarterback's eyes and I knew where he was going to throw it," Morgan said. "I just waited and made the play."
The Warriors could not get much going in the second half as they dropped several passes when they were wide open, but Morgan said he and his teammates never gave up.
"We fought until the end," Morgan said. "We fought hard. ... I love this team. It is too bad we are still not playing."
Konecki praised his team for fighting. He told them after the game to walk with their heads high.
He also praised Ratkovich for his performance.
"We didn't have a lot of time to put in new stuff, but Clint really adjusted and under the circumstances, he played well," Konecki said. "I guess us having to abandon the no-huddle helped him because it did slow some things up a bit."