Crete-Monee will be playing in the Class 6A state championship game Saturday against Cary-Grove, and it can largely thank Trayvon Rudolph for making it happen. The junior went off in the Warriors’ 38-35 semifinal victory over previously unbeaten Richard by accounting for 412 yards and five touchdowns to earn Sun-Times’ Player of the Week and book a spot in Champaign.
Cary-Grove’s Danny Daigle, St. Charles North’s Tyler Nubin and Loyola’s Armoni Dixon were this week’s other finalists.
Rudolph’s heroics were necessary with Crete-Monee locked in an absolute battle against Richards. The Warriors trailed 35-23 with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and seemed to have their backs against the wall. That’s when Rudolph connected with Ricky Johnson for a 51-yard touchdown pass that cut the deficit to 35-30.
After successfully recovering an onside kick at the Richards 49, Rudolph completed a trio of passes to push Crete-Monee inside the 10-yard line, then ran it in himself from nine yards out for the game-winner. He also scored the two-point conversion himself to push the lead up to a field goal with under 20 seconds remaining in regulation.
It was an incredible effort from Rudolph, whose impact was felt in myriad ways. Not only did the quarterback throw for 227 yards and run for another 96 yards, but he also returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. In its entirety, the performance was a game-changer that puts his team one win away from a state title.