Crete-Monee coach John Konecki has a go-to comparison for his star player Josh Franklin: “If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times but it’s like watching Allen Iverson play quarterback. He’s dangerous on the dance floor.”
Franklin’s dynamic ability was the difference in the Warriors’ 15-3 win against host St. Ignatius in the second round of the state playoffs on Saturday.
The CCL/ESCC is 20-2 in the playoffs so far. The only other loss came when two of the conference’s teams played each other. That shows just how massive Crete-Monee’s playoff road win was.
“Obviously the Catholic League is outstanding,” Konecki said. “I’m a Brother Rice guy so I’m well-versed in the history. It’s a big win for the program. I’m ecstatic for my kids and my coaches.”
The Warriors (8-3) trailed 3-0 at halftime. Terry Elias scored on a two-yard run with 9:35 left in the third quarter to put Crete-Monee ahead 7-3.
Franklin connected with Lynell Billups on a 52-yard touchdown pass with 2:31 to play. That essentially sealed the win for the Warriors.
“We knew we were going to bust one and that is what happened,” Elias said. “They can stop the run but we have a lot of speed. We had to get to the outside and make them chase us.”
Franklin was 7 of 11 for 105 yards and one touchdown. He had six carries for 73 yards.
“Everyone has been doubting us all season,” Franklin said. “We wanted to turn up and let everyone know what we are about.”
Terry Elias with a 2-yard run for Crete-Monee. Warriors lead St. Ignatius 7-3 early in the 3Q. pic.twitter.com/t3TuxkGfMc— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) November 7, 2021
St. Ignatius (9-2) moved the ball consistently on offense but weren’t able to come up with a big play and had a few drives hampered by costly penalties.
“We killed basically every drive in the second half with false starts and illegal procedure stuff,” St. Ignatius coach Matt Miller said. “We almost have to be perfect to win a game like this and we weren’t.”
Junior Vinny Rugai had 27 carries for 159 yards for the Wolfpack.
“Although we didn’t get as far as we wanted to, the program took a step forward,” Miller said. “Obviously with getting a playoff win and beating a CCL Blue opponent. Now guys believe we should be successful and it is not a surprise. But it’s a transition going from the hunter to the hunted. Most times in the past we could sneak up on somebody. Now we are going to get everyone’s best shot.”
Crete-Monee will travel to Washington, IL for the quarterfinals next weekend.