Preseason Football No. 10: Crete-Monee’s (still) got talent
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org August 18, 2014 9:02PM
Crete-Monee's Frank Douglas | File photo
Football Top 10
9. Coming Wednesday
8. Coming Thursday
7. Coming Friday
6. Coming Sunday
5. Coming Monday
4. Coming Aug. 26
3. Coming Aug. 27
2. Coming Aug. 28
1. Coming Aug. 29
Updated: September 20, 2014 6:19AM
The star power may not be as prevalent at Crete-Monee as in recent years.
Laquon Treadwell, Marcus Terrell, Nyles Morgan and Lance Lenoir already had established themselves by the time they led the Warriors to the 2012 Class 6A state championship.
With the exception of linebacker Omari Stringer, the 2014 Warriors lack a veteran presence.
What Crete-Monee doesn’t lack, however, is talent.
With help from an untested but skilled sophomore class, Crete-Monee appears in position to remain among the elite in 2014. It checks in at No. 10 in the SouthtownStar Preseason Football Top 10.
“We’re going to be young,” Warriors coach John Konecki said. “We don’t have the same star power. I’m confident we’re going to be good; I just don’t know at what level of good.”
First things first. The Warriors still are deciding on a quarterback between juniors Frank Douglas and Clint Ratkovich.
Douglas (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) passed for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns in helping the Warriors to an 8-2 record in 2013.
When Douglas was injured during Crete-Monee’s Class 6A first-round playoff game vs. Providence, Ratkovich stepped in and demonstrated great poise, though the Warriors fell 25-14.
Konecki made it clear that whomever isn’t under center will play another position.
“The difference between the two is that Frank is a better passer,” Konecki said. “Clint is more of a Jordan Lynch-type of quarterback. He’s more of a runner.”
As it stands, the 6-2, 215-pound Ratkovich will play on both sides of the ball. His versatility is a major asset.
To his credit, all Ratkovich is concerned about is winning.
“It would be an honor to play quarterback, but I’ll play anywhere coach needs me to play,” he said.
The winner of the quarterback battle will have a big-time receiving target in 6-2 Elijah Douglas, who totaled 482 yards in 2013. He’ll be joined at receiver by a trio of sophomores: Marcus Kidd, Kevin Pate and Juwuan Treadwell, the latter Laquon’s younger brother.
“We have young guys who are going to have to grow up fast,” Konecki said.
Senior Phil Crews (6-1, 270 pounds) is the lone starter back on an offensive line that must mature in a hurry.
Defensively, the 6-4, 215-pound Stringer leads a unit that returns just two other starters in lineman Craig Smith (5-11, 300) and Ratkovich, who likely will play linebacker.
“We’re untested but I feel we have enough firepower on both sides of the ball to make some waves,” Konecki said.
Crete-Monee’s schedule is unforgiving, with six teams that made the playoffs a year ago on the docket. The Warriors open at home Aug. 29 vs. T.F. South before hitting the road in Weeks 2 and 3 vs. Evanston and Sycamore, respectively. The regular season ends with perennial power Prairie Ridge making a visit.
Until proved otherwise, Crete-Monee remains the team to beat in the Southland Conference. Since 2007, the Warriors have gone 35-1 in conference and racked up seven straight titles. Rich Central and Bloom appear to be the biggest obstacles to registering No. 8.
Ratkovich is confident the Warriors will extend their streak.
“The team is coming together very well,” he said. “Everybody is focused. We have a lot of talent. The sky is the limit.
“It seems like we’re going to have a great season.”