Crete-Monee football coach Jerry Verde has always stressed the importance of a strong start to his Warriors.
The lesson seemed to have been absorbed and then some. Friday against host Glenbard South, The Warriors, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A, used their high-octane passing attack with artistic flair and coupled that occasionally trickery with a hard-hitting defense to dispose of the Raiders in nonconference play 45-7.
"We've been working really hard on getting good starts from the opening kickoff," Verde said. "The bottom line is I liked the effort I had from our guys tonight. The guys who are supposed to make plays made plays."
The Warriors' Marucs Terrell threw for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns. His naked bootleg for another score form 8 yards out midway through the third quarter closed the door on the scoring for Crete-Monee (4-0). It also closed out the scoring in a game during which the Warriors' Lance Lenoir scored on a hook-and-ladder play off a lateral from LaQuon Treadwell, and Darius Thomas scored off a shuffle pass. Together those scored helped build the Warriors' 32-7 halftime lead.
A second-quarter attempted flea-flicker pass by Treadwell did not work, but that was about the only thing that didn't go well for the Warriors early. Treadwell, one of the most sought-after recruits in Illinois, scored on a 45-yard strike from Terrell in the second quarter and opened the second-half scoring by maneuvering past three Raiders defenders for a 42-yard touchdown catch.
"We opened up the playbook today because we had to get it going," Terrell said. "We definitely have played better than we had the first three weeks, but the team still is not where we want to be."
The Raiders fell to 2-2 with Friday's defeat. Quarterback Alex Jeske threw for 127 yards, most of which came on an 81-yard touchdown off a seam pass to Justin Gjerazi in the second quarter. The score closed the Warriors' lead to 19-7, but two touchdown passes by Terrell before the half gave the Warriors plenty of breathing room heading into the second half.
The Raiders managed just 152 yards of offense. By contrast, Crete-Monee managed 254 just on the ground, led by Thomas with 64 yards and Trevon Smith with 60.
"Crete-Monee is a quick team and they execute very well," Gjerazi said. "We knew they were quick, we knew their personnel, but we just couldn't finish against them."
For Jeske, the 2-2 start for the Raiders against a tough nonconference slate that included an earlier loss to Prairie Ridge, can only help improve Glenbard South for Metro Suburban Conference play, which starts next Friday at Elmwood Park.
"We can only learn from these experiences," Jeske said. "Crete is one of the best teams in the state right now. So we'll just have to look at this game take the lessons into the league."