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Football: Providence knocks off Crete-Monee 25-14

Providence's AustGarwood (91) fights for an extryard as Crete-Monee's DeBentpulls him down. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

Providence's Austin Garwood (91) fights for an extra yard as Crete-Monee's Deon Benton pulls him down. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 2, 2014 2:20AM



Trailing 14-12 to defending Class 6A state champion Crete-Monee in the third quarter on Saturday, Providence was in dire need of momentum.

A fourth-down conversion from the Warriors’ 42-yard line provided it.

Dominic Lagone picked up the necessary yards to convert the fourth down and keep the chains moving, culminating with the senior scoring a two-yard touchdown.

Lagone would later add another score to lead visiting Providence to a 25-14 win over Crete-Monee in a Class 6A first-round match.

The Celtics (6-4) advance to play Quincy.

“I was thinking, ‘this is it,’ ” Lagone said of the fourth down play. “We get this, we’re going to win. I made sure I got it.”

Providence coach Mark Coglianese said there wasn’t much discussion among the coaches whether to go for it or punt.

“We needed to make something happen and get some momentum back,” he said. “The offensive coaches were confident we could make it. It was a big play, no doubt.”

Lagone was a workhorse, carrying the ball 40 times for 171 yards and three touchdowns.

His first TD came on the Celtics first series of the game. Providence drove 75 yards on nine plays, with Lagone busting in from seven yards out. The big play, though, was a 46-yard pass from Justin Hunniford to Craig Beebe.

Austin Regan converted a 24-yard field goal on the Celtics next possession and just like that it was 10-0 with 3:46 to go in the first quarter.

Providence would extend its lead to 12-0 when David Bell sacked quarterback Clint Ratkovich in the end zone for a safety with 15.7 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

Was a blowout in the making?

Hardly.

Ratkovich, subbing for injured starter Frank Douglas (lower back injury), capped off a 16-play, 57-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown and Carlos Soto added the point-after kick to cut the lead to 12-7.

On the Celtics first play of the ensuring possession, Hunniford (9-of-21, 124 yards) was intercepted by linebacker Nyles Morgan, who dashed 53 yards for the touchdown and 14-12 lead with 2:13 remaining in the half.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Lagone said. “They’re the defending state champs. We knew they were going to be good.”

If the prospect of their season ending wasn’t enough, senior Logan Plantz provided some words of encouragement during a halftime huddle in the end zone.

“I like playing the game with passion,” said Plantz, whose two older brothers, Tyler and Zac, starred at Providence. “The coaches expect us to take charge of the team. We had to take their (Crete-Monee) momentum away in the second half.”

Ratkovich was a one-man show for the Warriors, accounting for the team’s 93 yards rushing. He was also 5-of-20 passing for 55 yards.

The Celtics defense, led by Jeff Cesario, Matt Glenn, James Sharkey and Bell, was superb.

Without Douglas, the Warriors (8-2) had to alter their playbook, ditching their no-huddle attack for a more conventional approach. Coach John Konecki, though, offered no excuses.

“We battled the entire time,” he said. “We played hard all the way till the final zeroes.”



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