Super 25 countdown: Crete-Monee100110/Crete, Illinois Jeruel Taylor #33 Marian Catholic High School is tackled by Jonathan Fasel #42 Crete-Monee High School during varsity action Friday night in Crete, Illinois. av100110 TIN_mariancrete_P1 Photo By: Art Vassy/SouthtownStar
It wasn't too long ago that just winning one IHSA playoff game was Crete-Monee's biggest goal.
But since coach Jerry Verde arrived for the 2007 season, the Warriors have raised the bar. They've got five postseason victories - four more than the program had in its entire history - since then, capped by consecutive trips to the Class 6A quarterfinals the past two seasons.
"We have high expectations," said senior linebacker Jon Fasel, whose older brother also played for the Warriors. "Now the mentality on campus has changed a lot."
"Going to the quarterfinals two years in a row is an accomplishment and something we're proud of," Verde said. "(But) our expectations are beyond that. ... Kids who are juniors don't know anything but going to the quarterfinals."
The goal for Crete - ranked No. 17 in the Sun-Times preseason Super 25 - is another long playoff run, and the pieces could be in place to make that happen.
It starts with the Southland Conference's best player, and one of the state's premier defenders, in senior free safety Anthony Standifer, who has committed to Michigan.
"We've elevated his responsibility on defense, moving him from cornerback to free safety," Verde said of Standifer (6-foot-1, 178 pounds), who had nine interceptions last season. "He'll be able to make more plays playing free safety. He's made a nice transition this summer to that position."
Standifer doesn't rely on his considerable talent, according to Fasel. "He always has the mindset to work hard," Fasel said, citing their weekly Sunday workouts in addition to the team's scheduled sessions.
There are some other playmakers on defense as well. Among them: Fasel (6-0, 221), who had 61 tackles last year and also is a star in the classroom and on the baseball field; linebacker Anthony Anderson; and defensive back Tracy Whitehead, who ran a 4.39 40 at a combine this summer.
"He loves to fly around," Fasel said of Anderson.
On offense, the Warriors graduated three-year starting running back Julius Spicer, who received a full ride to Grambling.
But they have a big-timer back on that side of the ball in junior receiver LaQuon Treadwell (6-3, 190), who had 58 catches for 811 yards and seven touchdowns last fall. He'll also make his presence felt at defensive end, where he had five sacks a year ago.
Two more juniors to watch on offense are wide receiver Lance Lenoir (6-0, 165) and guard Austin Rosenfeldt (6-3, 308).
Fasel has been impressed by Treadwell and Lenoir.
"They've got pretty good hands (and) they know what they're doing when they get the ball," he said.
Senior Kenneth Kidd (6-0, 185), who ran for 282 yards and three TDs in a backup role last season, will step into Spicer's shoes as the featured back. Junior Marcus Terrell (6-1, 160), who ran the sophomore team's offense last year, will be the quarterback.
"We're going to 'Kyle Orton' him a little bit," Verde said, with Terrell's mission being: "Just manage the game."
The good thing is that with as much talent as the Warriors have around him, Terrell doesn't have to do too much himself.