FOOTBALL: Crete-Monee pounces on Kankakee
CRETE — Kankakee’s playoff hopes took a serious hit Friday night.
The Kays (4-4, 2-2) were looking for an upset victory against Crete-Monee (5-3, 5-0), a win that would get the Kays closer to an elusive playoff berth. But they were handed a 49-12 loss instead.
“We came to play hard, and we got off the bus playing,” said junior running back Antonio Pittman. “Everyone was locked in.”
Kankakee jumped out to a 6-0 lead when Geordan Adams scooped and scored on a fumble from 40 yards out on Crete-Monee’s first offensive possession.
The lead was short lived as C-M responded with two scoring drives on its next two possessions to take a 14-6 lead with just more than three minutes left in the first quarter.
The Kays stood strong in the early part of the second quarter, forcing a turnover on downs at their own 20-yard line with 9:13 left. After Mattias Clark picked up a first down on a 17-yard scamper to the 40-yard line, the Kays began leaking oil.
Sophomore quarterback Tyjuane Stewart was strip-sacked two plays later, and C-M’s William Evans Jr. picked up the loose ball and ran 28 yards for a TD for a 21-6 lead.
It got worse as the ensuing pooch kickoff was recovered by the Warriors at the Kankakee 30-yard line. Five plays later, Ronald Carroll Jr. scored from 9 yards out for a 29-6 advantage just two minutes later.
“It went downhill from there,” Kankakee coach Omar Grant said. “We came out fired up, and we were ready. ... We had some stops, we had some moves. That was a turning point, and it snowballed from there.”
Kankakee couldn’t stop the Warriors the remainder of the game, as C-M added 20 more unanswered points before Pittman returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown for the final count at the end of the third quarter.
“Our kids kept fighting,” Grant said. “They fought, and we’re just going to build from that.”
Kankakee now must beat Rich East on Friday at home for a possible shot at a playoff berth with a 5-4 record, depending on its playoff points.
“We’ve got a tough opponent next week in Rich East,” Grant said. “We’re not all the way out of [the playoffs]. We can come in and take care of what we need to at home.”
“Now, we’ve got to rely on the football gods to say whether or not we’re in or out. Our goal, and what we’re going to talk about mostly all week, is to control what we can control. If we can do that, then the playoffs will take care of themselves. That’s the game plan.”