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Disabato: Crete-Monee should tread cautiously

Crete- Monee’s wide receiver LaQuan Treadwell (6) catches 15 yard TD pass during second quarter Steger Saturday September 29 2012.

Crete- Monee’s wide receiver LaQuan Treadwell (6) catches a 15 yard TD pass during the second quarter in Steger, Saturday September, 29, 2012. | Ray Luna ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 2, 2012 6:10AM



You really want to jump on the bandwagon and allow yourself to get caught up in the euphoria that is Crete-Monee football.

Anyone who has watched the Warriors, I’m sure, is eager to purchase a ticket to gain entry to the fan bus, which is crowded and gaining steam.

Crete-Monee is 6-0, pasting its latest overmatched victim Bloom, 41-6, on Saturday in Steger.

If desired, Crete-Monee could have won the game 70-0 and receiver/safety/kicker Laquon Treadwell could have caught six touchdowns instead of three.

Bloom fans shouldn’t regard that assessment as a knock against their squad, which has won four of six games.

It’s just that Crete-Monee, which has outscored opponents 225-35, is that good and Treadwell, who has whittled his college destinations to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Michigan and Michigan State, is well ... let me just say that we could be watching the 6-foot-4, 200-pound specimen on Sundays down the road.

Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde has built a program that ranks among the elite in the area. Anyone who disagrees with that lofty assessment hasn’t paid attention to the Warriors in recent years.

Verde is 48-14 in six years guiding the program. Each season he has led the Warriors to a conference championship and the playoffs, including a pair of trips to the Class 6A quarterfinals.

This year’s team, however, appears more special than the others. Size, speed, skill, the Warriors are off the charts.

Everywhere you look, there’s talent.

I said to myself on more than one occasion Saturday, “Man, this team has a chance to go all the way.”

But then, like a Mike Tyson uppercut to the jaw, last season’s stunning second-round defeat to Peoria Richwoods comes to mind.

You remember that game.

The Warriors were 10-0 at the time, having outscored opponents 362-95, when they traveled to Peoria.

They lost 51-36. Don’t be fooled by the final score. It wasn’t that close. At one point, Crete-Monee trailed 44-6. I didn’t think any opponent in any class, much less Class 6A, was capable of beating the Warriors like that.

Which is why I caution Crete-Monee players and fans to tread lightly, to not get caught up in the exuberance of the regular season and remain focused on the big picture.

And never allow the feelings from last season’s only defeat to waver too far from your memory bank.

Verde, to his credit, expects more from this group and senses a different attitude.

“This is my sixth year,” he said. “We’ve done some nice things, but we haven’t had any big accomplishments yet. We just haven’t.

“Guys like Marcus (Terrell), Laquon, Lance (Lenoir), Nyles (Morgan), Travelle (Smith) and Kyle (Tilley) won’t allow us to be complacent. During those very rare times when the guys are not doing things we ask of them, we’ll remind them of the Peoria Richwoods game. We’ll say, ‘Peoria Richwoods is working right now. What are we doing?’ That usually gets their attention.”

Treadwell readily admitted last year’s team may have read too many of their press clippings and got a little big-headed. He vows that it won’t happen again.

“We knew we had a good team last year and we didn’t think we could be beat,” he said. “We didn’t practice as hard as we should have at times.

“This year, when we win, we say, ‘it’s just one game.’ We know there are better teams out there. We have to practice hard every day. The coaches always tell us it’s a marathon, not a sprint. That’s how we’re looking at it.”

If Crete-Monee has one flaw, it’s the kicking game. Namely, extra points.

The Warriors missed on three of four attempts. Treadwell, who caught eight passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns against Bloom, is the kicker.

He is, however, not fully to blame for the woes. A kicker is just one part of the equation. The snap must be accurate, the holder must tee the ball properly.

If one falters, it’s likely the kick fails.

The Warriors kicking game is more Ford than Ferrari.

Still, its struggles cannot be taken lightly. Not when expectations are so high.

A missed extra point can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

“We can’t get the ball on the tee,” Verde said. “We’re at a point where we’re either going to have to work on going for the two-point conversion or getting our kicking straightened out. It’s either one or the other. We’ll get one straightened out.”



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