Crete-Monee's Kyle Lewis (55) holds up his hand and leads his team in a chant before leaving the field after their defeat of Ottawa at Crete-Monee High School on Saturday November 10, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 12, 2012 6:40AM
Perhaps one of the best things to happen to Crete-Monee was its near loss to Peoria Richwoods in Round 2.
The Warriors are headed to the state Class 6A semifinals after whipping previously undefeated Ottawa 42-6 on Saturday night in Crete. They take a 12-0 record into Lemont.
The turnover-fest vs. Richwoods may have helped Crete come out and dominate. Last week, the Warriors turned the ball over seven times and rallied from a 32-21 deficit with 10:42 left in the game to beat Peoria 35-32.
“It might have been a blessing in disguise,” Warriors coach Jerry Verde said. “It made them realize how fragile the season is. They stared the end of the season right in the face. It’s one thing to talk about it but when you taste it and it becomes real, it’s a whole different thing.”
The Warriors were up 21-0 against Ottawa with 4:16 left in the first quarter thanks to an eight-play, 44-yard drive capped by a Marcus Terrell-to-Laquon Treadwell 8-yard scoring connection and two one-play drives set up by a fumble recovery by Devontay Merrill at the Pirates 3-yard line and Rodulfo Antuna’s fumble recovery at the Pirates 4.
Merrill’s play was unique. Ottawa’s William Hoffman punted into the wind from his own end zone. The ball traveled about 10 yards and bounced back toward the end zone. Hoffman tried to down the ball and it bounced off his hands, making it a live ball. Just about everyone stopped on that play except Merrill, who pounced on the ball on the 3.
“I didn’t know it was live, but I thought I better jump on it just in case,” Merrill said. “I was mad at myself for not running it into the end zone, but it’s all right because we scored. That’s all that mattered.”
Kyle Tilly scored the next play. When Ottawa got the ball back, Hoffman, who also played quarterback, fumbled the ball and the 297-pound Antuna smothered the ball. The next play, Lance Lenior ran it in.
Terrell threw for 122 yards, DeShaun Smith ran for 70 yards and Treadwell ran five times for 40 yards and caught six passes for 55. The defense held Ottawa to 110 yards, but 82 came on the Pirates’ final drive against the second-string defense.
Ottawa running back Mike Hermosillo, who entered the game with 1,986 yards, was held to 30 yards on eight carries in the first half. He missed the second half with an injury.