Updated: December 19, 2012 1:27PM
It should go down as an instant classic.
In a semifinal clash of Class 6A juggernauts, Crete-Monee used a Marcus Terrell two-point conversion to take a 28-27 lead, its first of the game, after a 4-yard touchdown run by DeShaun Smith with three minutes to go.
Crete-Monee then forced a Lemont three-and-out, and blue-chip receiver Laquon Treadwell iced the game with a 5-yard run for a first down with less than a minute remaining to evoke the victory formation.
With the 28-27 win, Crete-Monee (13-0) advances to its first ever state title match. The Warriors will play Cary-Grove at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
“We were still confident,” Terrell said despite trailing 24-14 late in the third quarter. “We were moving the ball, but we weren’t getting into the end zone. We just knew we had to get it in and do what we’ve been doing all season.”
Terrell proved right.
The senior quarterback led two fourth quarter scoring drives and finished 22-for-36 for 284 yards. Terrell made it a second half point to find his electric wide receiver tandem of Treadwell and Lance Lenoir.
“They’re the best two guys in the state. I haven’t seen anyone perform better than these guys, especially in clutch situations,” Terrell said. “Fourth quarter came and I had to put the ball in their hands. They made big plays for us.”
Treadwell caught six passes for 91-yards, hauling in a 47-yard touchdown bomb from Terrell in the second quarter to knot the game at 14. Treadwell then scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter to cut Lemont’s lead to 24-20. The senior also added an interception and a sack for the Warriors defense.
Lenoir finished with 14 catches for 132 yards, nine of his grabs coming in the first half.
“We went to (Lenoir) so much early by design,” Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde said. “We wanted to take some of the eyes off Treadwell.”
Lemont (11-2) appeared in good position of securing the win after capping a 16-play, 10 minute drive on a 4-yard Chris Giatras (101 yards on 32 carries) touchdown late in the third quarter for a 24-14 lead. But the Indians couldn’t stop the aerial assault from Terrell and Co.
“It’s disappointing, we’d sure like to be playing next week,” Lemont coach Eric Michaelsen said. “Our kids battled and I’m really proud that they did. They didn’t give up until the final play.”
On the pivotal two-point conversion, Terrell dropped back to pass, but the middle of the field parted. Terrell saw his opening and dove in for the score.
“That’s a play we’ve been working on for a couple of weeks. It was the perfect time for it,” Terrell said.
Lemont scored first on 49-yard lead handoff to Rick Sniegowski, and then took a a 14-7 lead after quarterback Zach Brosseau hit Drew Slee on a perfect fade in the end zone for six-yard touchdown reception.
On the very next possession, Treadwell hauled in his 47-yard touchdown pass.
“We weren’t getting the stops, so our mindset was we had to keep scoring,” Treadwell said. “We’ve got one more game. We’ve just got to keep working hard.”