Terrell puts up big numbers for Crete-Monee

939873.png

Terrell puts up big numbers for Crete-Monee

Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde can be excused if he is tempted to shout "I told you so" to the many naysayers who said he was "full of baloney" when he opted to convert Marcus Terrell from wide receiver to quarterback two years ago.

As a junior, Terrell passed for 2,800 yards while leading Crete-Monee to a 10-1 record. As a 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior, he is even more prolific. Going into Saturday night's Class 6A semifinal at Lemont, he has completed 192 of 282 passes for 2,818 yards and 36 touchdowns for the 12-0 Warriors.

Crete-Monee has so many weapons that it is easy to overlook Terrell. The Warriors are averaging 40 points per game while allowing only 8.4. They haven't scored fewer than 30 points in any game and only two opponents have scored more than one touchdown.

Treadwell, touted as the best uncommitted senior in the nation, has caught 68 passes for 1,219 yards and 14 touchdowns. He plays to take his allotted five official visits--Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Florida and Ohio State are on his list--but he has put recruiting on the backburner until the season is over.

"One of the great things he has done in the playoff is put recruiting on the side," Verde said. "His whole focus is on the team and the playoff. He is just a great football player. We had him at outside linebacker in the second round. He was pivotal in beating Peoria Richwoods. He made a big interception to change the game when things started to go wrong. He made huge stops on defense from the end spot. He also has made 16 of 17 extra points. And he kicks off, too."

But Crete-Monee has other college prospects on its roster. Nyles Morgan, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker, is one of the leading players in the class of 2015. He has offers from Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA, Purdue and Vanderbilt.

"Without a doubt, he is a fantastic linebacker," Verde said. "He has all the tools. Physically, he can do what no one can do at the inside linebacker position that I have seen...speed, physical, cover, understanding the game. He is an honor student. He does a lot of things right. As a junior, his game is ready for college, physically and mentally. He could be as big a prospect as Treadwell when it is all said and done."

Verde also singles out 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior wide receiver Lance Lenoir, who has caught 50 passes for 918 yards and 14 touchdowns. A three-year starter, Lenoir made the mistake of attending a combine, where he was timed in 4.7 seconds for 40 yards and turned off some recruiters.

What about Treadwell?

"I don't know why he isn't a bigger recruit," Verde said. "He is hearing only from state schools. He scored 30 on his ACT and could be an Ivy Leaguer. But he still is hoping some things will shake loose. I feel he can play in the MAC. I don't know if he is a Big Ten quarterback. But I don't know why he doesn't get more attention."

As freshmen, Terrell played wide receiver with Treadwell at quarterback. But Verde switched them as sophomores, figuring Treadwell "could do more damage at wide receiver and also play on defense."

Terrell didn't have a good summer going into his junior year and Verde crossed his fingers as the youngster opened the season against Thornton Fractional South.

"I was hoping he would be a Kyle Orton and manage the game," Verde said. "But he took it over. He executed the offense at a high level, so good that after the first four games we knew we had something special.

"He is a very cerebral player. He has speed and size to get it done. I try to point college coaches in his direction. Maybe they don't take him seriously because he has such great receivers to throw to."

Terrell isn't disappointed or frustrated by the recruiting process. He is just focusing on this season. "If we do what we are supposed to do, it will come when it comes. I feel I am good enough to play at the Division I level. I want to play at the highest level I can," he said.

He is motivated by last year's 51-36 loss to Peoria Richwoods in the second round of the state playoff.

"This is a harder working team than last year," Terrell said. "Last year, we didn't focus on making ourselves better every week. This year, we are focused on getting better every week and preparing to play later in the season. We have great players everywhere on the field and I feel confident I can get the ball in their hands.

"Another thing, this team sticks together, even when things go bad. Last year, we weren't as much of a team as this year. This year, I understand the game more, how to attack defenses, be more consistent than last year. I try to play at a top level every time I am on the field, not as many down games or long stretches where I play badly."

He still can't get last year's loss to Peoria Richwoods out of his mind. "It took away our season. We started slow. We came out and didn't execute plays in the first half. We were down by 30 points. Plays that should have been made, simple plays, I didn't execute. It has motivated me to do better this season," he said.

Terrell, who spent all summer working out with his receiving corps of Treadwell, Lenoir, Darius Thomas, Kyle Tilley, Deshaun Smith and Deshaun Duncan, realized in Week 2 against Marian Catholic that this team was different than a year ago.

"Everything was going bad but we didn't fall apart," he said. "We battled back and came out on top (30-7). I realized this team has a different attitude."

But is Crete-Monee big enough and strong enough and physical enough to match muscles with Lemont and its powerful offensive line headed by LSU-bound Ethan Pocic and Bowling Green-bound Tim McAuliffe?

"Our offense is always dangerous," Verde said. "The difference between this year and the past is our defense is physical and has a lot of speed. In the past, we worried about teams running us over. If opponents are not road-grading us off the line, dominating us on the line, with our speed on defense we can give you some problems.

"Sure, Lemont has a huge offensive line. Physically, I hope we can compete against them. Their strength is the offensive line and one of our strengths has been our front four (led by 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior end Trevelle Smith) and Morgan."

Todd Frazier's late RBI single lifts White Sox past Blue Jays

Todd Frazier's late RBI single lifts White Sox past Blue Jays

The White Sox haven’t had much success with runners in scoring position of late. Todd Frazier hasn’t had much all season long.

But Frazier’s two-out RBI single in the eighth inning Friday night broke a tie and the White Sox held on for a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 27,196 at U.S. Cellular Field. The victory was the fourth in five games for the White Sox, who improved to 37-37. Frazier’s hit was the only one with a runner in scoring position in 14 tries for a team that entered the game hitting .245 in those situations. He finished 2-for-4.

Though Frazier has provided the White Sox with plenty of thump, he’s had a trying season with runners in scoring position. He entered his eighth-inning at-bat with Jesse Chavez just 9-for-61 with two home runs and 23 RBIs with runners in scoring position, including a third-inning ground out. But Frazier got a 1-1 fastball from Chavez and ripped it into left field to put the White Sox ahead and end a frustrating night for the offense, particularly the bottom of the order.

The White Sox had left a man in scoring position in all but one inning up until that point. They tied the game at 1 in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout by Avisail Garcia and pulled ahead in the fifth on a solo homer by Melky Cabrera, who went 3-for-4 against his former team.

Prior to Frazier’s single, Cabrera grounded out to first as Edwin Encarnacion made a spectacular stop and fell down in foul territory. Tim Anderson, who doubled and went to third on a fly ball, didn’t advance on the play. But Frazier made it all moot.

Carlos Rodon had another strong outing, though he surrendered the lead right before he exited.

Rodon struck out eight and tamed a red hot offense for 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander fell behind 1-0 in the second inning and looked as if he may be in trouble before escaping the jam with a strikeout of Junior Lake to strand two. That began a stretch in which Rodon retired 11 of 14 batters and allowed the White Sox to rally for a 2-1 lead.

But Rodon couldn’t hold it, in part because of a sixth-inning balk call by first-base ump Angel Hernandez that earned pitching coach Don Cooper an ejection. Rodon hit Michael Saunders to start the sixth and he advanced on the balk and tagged up on a fly out to center. The extra 90 feet became critical when Kevin Pillar’s infield single tied it. Todd Frazier made a diving stop on the play at first base and Rodon took one too many steps to tag first base just behind the slide of Pillar.

Rodon allowed two earned runs and six hits with two walks.

The White Sox bullpen picked up the slack. Matt Albers, Nate Jones and Zach Duke combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings to get the ball to Robertson. Robertson then pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam for his 19th save in 21 tries.

Sky: Delle Donne's 31 points not enough in loss to Liberty

elenadelle.png
Associated Press

Sky: Delle Donne's 31 points not enough in loss to Liberty

NEW YORK (AP) — Not even a broken nose could slow down Tina Charles.

She had 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead New York to an 80-79 victory over the Chicago Sky on Friday night for the Liberty's sixth consecutive win — their longest streak in six years.

"I do what my teammates need me to do," Charles said. "I know how much my team relies on me especially not having (Epiphanny Prince) here."

Charles was sporting a clear mask after she broke her nose Wednesday in a double-overtime win over Atlanta.

"It was the first time in my life that I had to wear a mask," the reigning AP player of the week said. "The situation is what it is. It's a contact sport and injuries do happen. I'm just happy that the Hosptial for Special Surgery and our medical staff was able to give me the mask so I could play tonight."

Charles leads the league in scoring and rebounding and had 12 points in the first half to help New York build a 50-40 halftime advantage.

Sugar Rodgers added 13 points for the Liberty (10-4), who are third in the AP power poll. It's the first time since 2001 that New York has won 10 of its first 14 games.

The Liberty led by 11 midway through the fourth before the Sky rallied to 78-77 with 2:24 left. Neither team would score again until Sugar Rodgers hit an acrobatic backdoor floater with 39.5 seconds remaining. Elena Delle Donne answered with a tough pullup nine seconds later.

Chicago let New York run down the clock on its next possession before Charles missed a hook across the lane. Delle Donne got the rebound setting up one final chance for the Sky with just over 2 seconds left, but her jumper from the wing missed.

"Couple things went wrong and we didn't run it to the way we were supposed to," Delle Donne said of the last play. "Things got a little crazy and had to throw up a desperation shot. We wanted more of a post up and that just didn't happen."

She finished with a season-high 31 points to lead Chicago (6-8). Cappie Pondexter added 20 for the seventh-ranked Sky, who have dropped four of five.

Both teams wore warm-up shirts in honor of Orlando club shooting victims. The Liberty donated $10,000 to the OneOrlando fund that was set up to support the victims' families and survivors.

Contreras helps Cubs end 4-game skid by beating Marlins

willsoncont.png
USA Today Sports Images

Contreras helps Cubs end 4-game skid by beating Marlins

MIAMI - One week into his major league career, Chicago Cubs super-sub Willson Contreras says he's simply trying to contribute and enjoy himself.

So how much fun is he having?

"A lot," Contreras said, practically shouting the words. "A lot."

No wonder - he's batting .412 with three homers, and the latest helped the Cubs break their longest losing streak of the season at four games by beating the Miami Marlins 5-4 Friday night.

Contreras hit a two-run homer in a four-run first inning, and his RBI single in the seventh put the team with the best record in the majors ahead to stay.

Manager Joe Maddon said Contreras' contribution as a reinforcement for the injury-hampered Cubs has been indispensable.

"It's like oxygen - it's absolutely necessary," Maddon said. "The life he has brought to the group is absolutely necessary. He's different in all the best ways."

While Contreras again excelled as a reinforcement, the NL Central leaders endured another setback when second baseman Ben Zobrist left the game after he was hit by a pitch that bruised his left ankle. X-rays were negative, but Zobrist said he'll likely miss at least one game.

Four pitchers held the Marlins to two hits, including Justin Bour's grand slam.

Each team scored four runs in the first inning, when Kris Bryant and Contreras homered for the Cubs. It was the first time in the majors this year that both teams scored at least four runs in the first, according to ESPN.

Despite the early onslaught, both starters settled down before departing with the score still 4-all.

The Cubs' Kyle Hendricks pitched five innings and allowed only one hit - Bour's slam. All four runs were unearned because of an error by shortstop Addison Russell.

"That was the most grinding of a one-hitter," Hendricks said. "It was a weird game."

Miami's Tom Koehler gave up six consecutive hits in the first but still pitched six innings.

Trevor Cahill (1-2) threw a scoreless sixth. Hector Rondon retired all four batters he faced for his second four-out save in a row, and his 13th overall.

Mike Dunn (0-1) retired only one of the five hitters he faced in the seventh, walking two and hitting Zobrist.

"I can't remember the last time I went out there and couldn't throw anything over the plate," Dunn said. "I didn't give the team a chance."

Dunn also allowed a one-out run-scoring single by Contreras, who has eight RBIs after seven games in the big leagues.

"He looks like an established big league hitter," Hendricks said. "He just hits balls hard. It's really fun to watch. To be that young and come up and do it, it's unbelievable. And we need it right now."

Contreras started at catcher and moved to first base late in the game. He's expected to be in the lineup again Saturday, although he's unsure where.

"I don't know if I'm going to play left field or first base; I caught a few flyballs in right field today," he said. "So I'll be ready, man."