OLYMPIA FIELDS | Crete Monee overcame three turnovers and over 100 yards in penalties to claim a 27-26 overtime win over Rich Central.
The Warriors also picked up the Southland Athletic Conference title.
With a 24-game conference win streak on the line, things got off to a shaky start as the Olympians forced a fumble on the game’s first play. Iyenoma Ogbomoh returned it 30 yards for a touchdown and an early 6-0 lead.
Rich Central (8-1, 4-1) would push the lead to 12-0 at the end of the first quarter on a 21 yard touchdown pass from Michael Hoover to Breon Glass.
Trailing by two touchdowns, Chris Slayton and the Warriors defense took over in the second quarter, holding the Olympians to two first downs and recording three sacks.
“We didn’t want to lose this game,” Slayton said. “The offense was struggling in the first half, so we just had to step up and make some plays.”
With the Olympians driving late in the first half, Slayton came up with a pair of sacks to force a fourth and 30 and give the offense one more chance to get on the board before halftime.
The offense didn’t waste the opportunity going on a 68-yard drive, capped off with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Frank Douglas to Kevon Love with 47 seconds left in the half.
The Olympians stretched the lead up to 14 in the second half with an Ahmad McClellen touchdown run and a two point conversion pass from Hoover to Malik Fountain.
However, the defending class 6A state champions weren’t about to quit. Douglas got the comeback started, going in from the 1 to cut the lead to 20-12 with eight minutes to play.
After forcing the Olympians to punt with 3:43 to go, the Warriors (8-1, 5-0) drove deep into Rich Central territory but turned the ball over on downs at the Olympians 30 with under two minutes to play.
Again the defense responded, as Shane Ratkovich recovered a fumble at the Rich Central 35 with 1:37 to play. That gave the Warriors one more shot at forcing overtime.
This time, the offense was up to the task. Trevon Smith took the ball in from the 3 and Hoover hit Clint Ratkovich for the two-point conversion with 17 seconds left to force overtime.
Crete scored first in overtime when Douglas found Love for his second touchdown. The Olympians came right back as Hoover went in from the 7.
The Olympians decided to go for the win, lining up for a two point conversion. Slayton came up big once again, fighting through a double team to stop McClellen at the 2 and give the Warriors their fifth consecutive conference title.
“If we don’t stop them, we lose the game,” Crete Monee Coach John Konecki said. “The defense never quit; we put them in some bad situations but they battled all day.”