CRETE -- A long trip. An even longer night.|
The Moline football team squandered an early shot of defensive momentum Friday, and also failed to score touchdowns on a pair of late drives, before settling for a frustrating 34-2 setback at top-ranked Crete-Monee.
Like last season, the defending Western Big 6 Conference champions head into next week's start of the league season with a 1-2 nonconference record after a drilling by the Warriors, ranked No. 1 statewide in Class 6A by the Illinois Associated Press.
Crete-Monee (3-0) mauled the Maroons 37-13 in Week 3 last season, too.
"It's unfortunate because it's a long drive to come up here just to put on a performance like that,'' Moline coach Crick Sant Amour said.
In between a first-quarter safety to draw Moline within 7-2 early, and the two unfruitful marches into the Warriors' red-zone that ate up most of the fourth quarter, the Maroons managed a paltry 30 yards and were outscored 20-0.
"It's frustrating,'' Sant Amour said. "We went from executing our offense very well in Week 1 to this. To their credit, (Crete-Monee is) a very good football team. Their defensive linemen are big and everybody on their side can run. They're a great football team but we did not respond in the manner I'd have liked to have seen. We just didn't have the surge we needed on the line. We just did not come off the ball and execute like I know we can.''
That's too bad, because Sant Amour said Moline had a chance early to execute its grind-it-out game plan,
After the Warriors took the lead on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Terrell to Lance Lenoir, a Maroons punt went 59 yards to the host's 1-yard-line, setting up a safety when Jon Pollock broke through the line on the next snap, downing Darius Thomas in the endzone.
On the ensuing drive, Moline was moving up-field, but faced a fourth-and-one.
"In the huddle (during a timeout), I asked the guys `Can you all go on two?' They said yes. But then of course we jumped, and we never got momentum back after that,'' Sant Amour said.
"We kept giving them the ball and with a good team like that, you just can't do that. They're just going to keep throwing to their athletes and eventually they're going to get you.''
Crete-Monee scored three more times -- twice on Trevon Smith runs and once more on a Terrell pass to Kyle Tilley -- before Moline mounted a challenge offensively.
However, a 23-play, 68-yard drive ended inside the Warriors' 10, and the follow up got painfully close, too, before a fourth-down fumble by Marc Ashcraft.
"We had those two drives late,'' Sant Amour said. "If our kids would have done what they were supposed to do the whole game, maybe it would have been a different story.
"The gameplan was to hold on to the ball and wear them down, and we were doing that, just too late.''
Alex Frutiger, back from a shoulder injury, was a bright spot for Moline, with 61 yards on 15 carries.
Austin Stephenson also had a pair of tackles-for-loss to spearhead the defense.
However, Moline managed just 164 yards of total offense and allowed 364, including 252 on 14-of-23 throwing by Terrell.
"This was not fun,'' Sant Amour said. "We just did not play a good game.''
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