CRETE, Ill. -- Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde could see the pressure getting to his players as they came to the final stages of completing an undefeated regular season.
The Warriors hadn’t accomplished a perfect regular season since 1952, and while it was never something Verde discussed with his team, he could tell it was on everyone’s minds.
When the Warriors notched their ninth regular-season victory last week, it allowed a stress-free Crete-Monee squad to take the field Saturday for the opening round of the Class 6A playoffs.
Playing free and loose as it did early in the season, top-seeded Crete-Monee rolled to a 63-14 win over visiting Bloomington on Saturday afternoon.
Crete-Monee (10-0) will play No. 5-seeded Peoria Richwoods in the second round next week. Richwoods defeated No. 4 Normal Community 45-14 on Saturday.
“Like I’ve told a lot of people, once we got that 9-0 out of the way, which is the first time for us since 1952, there was a relief,” Verde said. “It got heavier and heavier. Now, we’re just playing.”
And when the Warriors are just playing, they possess a number of high-level athletes who can make things happen quickly.
Bloomington discovered that on its opening drive. On the game’s second play, Crete-Monee caused a fumble after a Bloomington reception, and the Warriors’ LaQuan Treadwell recovered the ball and sprinted in for an apparent touchdown, which was voided after the officials decided it had been an incompletion.
On the very next play, Bloomington again passed the ball, a receiver again caught it, Crete-Monee again forced a fumble, and this time the Warriors’ Tracy Whitehead picked it up and ran in for a 25-yard touchdown. The play would stand.
“To have two straight touchdown returns, if you’ve seen something like that before, you tell me,” Verde said. “I’ve never seen something like that before.”
From there, Treadwell, a wide receiver, and running back Kenneth Kidd took care of the rest in the first half. Treadwell caught five passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns and Kidd ran for 127 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries in the first two quarters.
“The defense just set the tone today, and we picked up where they set it,” said Kidd, who finished with 166 rushing yards, 27 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Crete-Monee led 36-7 at halftime, and it became a running-clock game in the early minutes of the second half.
“It’s about coming out playing and playing up to your potential,” said Treadwell, who is being recruited by a number of FBC schools. “It’s a five-game season from now on.”
Crete-Monee quarterback Marcus Terrell was 13-of-15 passing for 160 yards and four touchdowns.