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Crete-Monee accepts the championship trophy after defeating Cary-Grove during Saturday's IHSA State Championship game between Crete-Monee and Cary-Grove high schools, hosted at the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL. | Paul Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times
CHAMPAIGN — Laquon Treadwell may not play his college ball at Illinois, but he left his finger prints all over its stadium.
The 6-foot-3, 198-pound senior made his presence known at receiver, running back and defensive back, carrying Crete-Monee to a 33-26 win over relentless Cary-Grove to claim the Class 6A state championship at Memorial Stadium.
“In any big game, especially in the playoffs, your playmakers make plays,” Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde said. “That’s why they’re big-time guys. Laquon has been making big plays since he was a sophomore.”
Treadwell had six catches for 85 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown that extended the Warriors lead to 21-10 in the third quarter.
He also gained 93 yards on six carries, highlighted by a 69-yard touchdown on the Warriors’ second play on their opening series that made it 6-0.
Treadwell also intercepted a pass after the Trojans had recovered a fumble at the Crete 26.
Cary-Grove trailed 21-16 at that point.
The pick not only prevented Cary-Grove from possibly taking the lead, it allowed the Warriors to regain momentum and tack on consecutive touchdowns that stretched their lead to 33-16.
For good measure, Treadwell added a two-point conversion, and extra-point kick and a handful of crunching tackles from free safety.
“Playing against him (Treadwell) in person, he made plays we don’t see people make,” Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. “His interception in the third quarter was pretty unbelievable. He’s unbelievable.”
It took Crete-Monee 27 seconds to go 79 yards.
Scratch that. It took Laquon Treadwell 27 seconds to go 79 yards.
Treadwell caught a 10-yard pass from Marcus Terrell on the Warriors’ first-play from scrimmage.
On the next one, Treadwell lined up in the backfield and took a pitch from Terrell 69 yards for the touchdown and 6-0 lead at 9:37 of the first quarter. Treadwell did, however, miss the extra-point kick.
Cary-Grove cut the lead to 6-3 on a 32-yard field goal by Garrett Glueck with 3:25 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors responded with a 14-play, 78-yard drive that culminated with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Terrell to DeShawn Duncan with 3:26 remaining in the half. Treadwell added the two-point conversion run for a 14-3 advantage. Terrell spread the wealth during the drive, connecting with Raphael Vallot on a 13-yard pass and Lance Lenoir on a seven-yard strike.
The Trojans trimmed the deficit to 14-10 just before the half on a one-yard run by Kyle Norberg with 11 seconds remaining before intermission and Glueck’s PAT.
The Trojans offense proved to be its best defense in the first half, consistently eating clock by way of a productive ground game that kept the Warriors offense on the sideline. Cary-Grove ran 36 plays to Crete-Monee’s 18 over the opening 24 minutes.
On the fourth play of the second-half, Treadwell hauled in a 57-yard scoring pass from Terrell to make it 21-10 at 10:55 of the third quarter.
A persistent Cary-Grove team would cut the gap to 21-16 on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Quinn Baker to Ryan Mahoney at 5:34 of the second. The two-point conversion attempt was stuffed.
Terrell then hit Lenoir on a 52-yard touchdown pass and Deon Benton had the five-yard fumble recovery for a score that stretched the Warrior lead to 33-16 at 2:51 of the third quarter.
Cary-Grove last won a state title in 2009, claiming Class 6A.