Crete-Monee's Laquan Treadwell leaps to complete an interception. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:37AM
Laquon Treadwell’s biggest contribution Friday night might have come off the field.
That’s an indication of just how talented the Crete-Monee receiver is, because between the lines he caught eight passes for 113 yards.
But Treadwell, the state’s top uncommitted senior and arguably the best prospect in the nation who hasn’t made a college choice, also stepped up in another way.
No. 4 Crete trailed for just the second time all season, and the first time since Week 1, before storming back to beat Rich East 38-7 and complete its second consecutive unbeaten regular season.
The Warriors (9-0, 5-0 Southland) led just 12-7 at halftime, but got two touchdowns in 12 seconds in the third quarter and rolled from there.
Kyle Tilley ran for two scores and recovered an onside kick to set up a third touchdown, while Lance Lenoir caught seven passes for 103 yards and two scores. Crete quarterback Marcus Terrell was 27-of-37 passing for 297 yards and three TDs.
Maybe the Warriors getting into gear had something to do with Treadwell’s other contributions.
“I went to the seniors myself,” he said. “I didn’t tell the coaches or anything. I went to the seniors on offense and defense. I told them, ‘If you want to win this game, it’s going to come from us. We’re going to have to show some leadership.’”
The Warriors also showed some depth. Their Division I prospects — Treadwell, Lenoir and junior Nyles Morgan, who helped lead the defense and ran for a late touchdown — did what they’re expected to do.
And so did Tilley, a 5-foot-9, 165-pounder who caught five passes for 43 yards and ran four times for 36 yards.
“Kyle is the hardest worker, probably, in this program,” Treadwell said. “He’s always first in sprints, pushing himself every day. He was waiting for his time to make a play.”
“He’s a tough kid,” Crete coach Jerry Verde said. “He’s a wrestler. He’s a strong kid, he’s a weight-room kid. He’s tough to tackle and he’s deceptively fast.”
Tilley appreciated Verde’s faith in him, especially given all the offensive talent around him.
“He just gave me opportunities,” Tilley said. “I had to take advantage because I don’t get that many.”
Rich East (6-3, 4-1) took advantage of the one big play it got all night, Kenneth Naylor’s 57-yard run early in the second quarter that set up Malcolm Miller’s 4-yard touchdown run with 9:10 left till halftime.
Crete went into the break up 12-7 thanks to two Terrell touchdown passes, a 28-yarder to Lenoir and a 2-yarder to DeShawn Smith.
It stayed close till Tilley ran eight yards for a score and then recovered an onside kick to set up Terrell’s 37-yard TD pass to Lenoir 12 seconds later, making it 24-7.
Tilley and Morgan added scoring runs in the fourth quarter as the Warriors erased the memories of last year’s close call against Rich East to head into the Class 6A playoffs on a high note.
“That’s a great running team that was hitting us in the mouth early,” Treadwell said. “Adversity came, we folded a little bit.
“I know how it felt two years ago, last year. I told them, ‘This is going to happen in the playoffs. This is something we’re going to have to deal with.’”
The Warriors’ hope is that they’ll deal with it as well as they did Friday.