Treadwell lifts Warriors to 6A Championship


Treadwell lifts Warriors to 6A Championship

By Bill Harrison
Season Pass

CHAMPAIGN -- If there was any doubt that Crete-Monee senior Laquon Treadwell should be in the conversation as one of the best all-time players in Illinois history, it was put to rest Saturday afternoon in Champaign.

Treadwell, who has narrowed his college choices down to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ole Miss, looked like a men amongst boys during his teams 33-26 Class 6A state title win over Cary-Grove.

Its my preparation,said Treadwill, who had two touchdowns--one on a 69-yard run, the other a 57-yard pass from Marcus Terrell. The way I train helps this game become very instinctive to me.

The wide receiversafetykicker had 178 all-purpose yards, including six catches for 85 yards and six rushes for 93 yards. His biggest play, however, occurred on defense in the third quarter when he intercepted a pass following a fumble recovery by the Trojans on the Warriors 26-yard line.

The Trojans had just pulled to within four at 20-16, but the Warriors scored one play later on a 52-yard pass to Lance Lenoir from Terrell.

All of that accomplished with the Trojans knowing Treadwell, who tied two of his teammates for a game-high 12 tackles, was the player they needed to stop if they wanted to win the schools second-ever state title.

He made some plays weve never seen people make before, Cary-Grove second-year coach Brad Seaburg said. The interception that he made in the third quarter was unbelievable. He was up at the line of scrimmage and jumped underneath our out route and made the play. Hes unbelievable.

Treadwell wasnt done. On the ensuing kickoff he was the first gunner down and made a solo tackle for no gain, garnering an overwhelming cheer from the crowd, leaving them to wonder, What else can he do?

There was still more left for Treadwell to do, and he again obliged.

After the Trojans pulled within the final score with 3-minutes left, Treadwell stepped up and recovered the onside kick. His final contribution was a pair of bone-crushing hits on two incomplete passes on the Trojans final drive.

Hes been making big plays since he was a sophomore, Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde said. Thats what kind of kid he is.

The Warriors sniffed playoff success in 2009 and 2010 when they advanced to the state quarterfinals.The aroma of being a state champion now wafts through the hallways of Crete-Monee for the first time in school history.

This state title will be forever remembered as the one that was brought to them by Treadwell, clearly the best player in school history who provided one of the best overall individual performances in state championship history.

Results didn’t show Fire’s progress against Rodriguez’s “three-year plan”


Results didn’t show Fire’s progress against Rodriguez’s “three-year plan”

Early on in his tenure as Chicago Fire general manager, Nelson Rodriguez said he thinks teams in Major League Soccer need a group of several core players to succeed in the league.

“We believe that in order to succeed for sustained periods of time at championship level within MLS you need seven-to-nine steady starters, year in and year out,” Rodriguez said in January.

As a result of that line and his continued stated belief in needing a key core group of players, every time local media is gathered with Rodriguez he is asked about that and where the team stands on that front. After all, Rodriguez also said, “Our hope would be that at the end of this season that we start to approach that number.”

So when Rodriguez hosted local media on Tuesday at Toyota Park, he was again asked about the core players and how he believes the team has progressed in that area.

“We have a core that we’ve built on,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s five, six solid players and then three or four others that could be in and out of that 11 if you want to just use that 11 as a guide. But if someone else comes along and presents an opportunity where we think we can improve that core, we will do so.”

Rodriguez wouldn’t bring up names that he believes are part of the core, but it’s believable to think Michael de Leeuw, David Accam, Johan Kappelhof and perhaps younger players like Matt Polster and Jonathan Campbell are somewhere in that mix. In the offseason Rodriguez said the Fire had four core players and mentioned Polster and Harry Shipp as two more he believed could become part of that group with continued development. Shipp was traded about a month after that comment while Polster made 24 starts this season and played for the U.S. Olympic qualifying team.

[RELATED: Disappointed in 2016, Rodriguez believes Fire have opportunity in offseason]

Results-wise, this season was not what Rodriguez had in mind in terms of progress. The Fire remained last in the league and earned just one more point than in 2015, but Rodriguez said that doesn’t change anything.

“It doesn’t alter our plans, it doesn’t alter our approach,” Rodriguez said. “But I know today that the first five games of next year are going to be under a magnifying glass for all of us. We’ll deal with that. This may be the only time that I have this job. I know for me I make sure I do it in the way that I think is best, in the way that I think leads us to building a championship program.”

For a fan base that has seen the club miss the playoffs now six of the past seven seasons, believing Rodriguez when he says the club has improved its core may not be so easy. With that in mind, Rodriguez wouldn’t evaluate his team based on what happened before he arrived, saying 2016 was “the start of a new process.”

“I respect that from the fans it’s a different continuum,” he said. “Last season was a continuation of something else, or two seasons ago if you will. This past season was the first season of a three-year plan.”

As Rodriguez and the Fire head into the second year of his so-called three-year plan, Rodriguez admitted that the lack of results this season makes progress harder to see.

“I would have liked to have seen more results, more positive results that would certainly give more validity to what we’re doing,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s at a time when Pauno and I are trying to push standards, trying to push players out of their comfort zone, trying to push elements of the organization forward out of its comfort zone. When the results don’t accompany you, you don’t have the legitimacy that you’d like to have. So in terms of assembling talent, in terms of instituting our methodology, I think we’re OK. In terms of results I think we’re clearly behind.”

Kris Bryant earns prestigious Hank Aaron Award as NL's top hitter

Kris Bryant earns prestigious Hank Aaron Award as NL's top hitter

CLEVELAND - The World Series isn't over yet, but the awards are already rolling in for the Cubs.

Kris Bryant was named the Hank Aaron Award winner Wednesday evening, an accolade for the best hitter in each league. Aaron was on hand at the World Series in Cleveland to hand the award to Bryant.

Bryant led the National League with 121 runs scored while also slugging 39 homers and driving in 102 runs. He hit .292 with a .385 on-base percentage and .554 slugging percentage (for a .939 OPS).

“Well, it’s ‘Hammerin’ KB,’” manager Joe Maddon said. “Just be a young player in KB’s shoes, and to win that award and then have that particular man present it to you, it’s impressive. It’s very impressive at a young age to be considered and then win it. There’s a lot of great competition out there."

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

After winning Rookie of the Year honors last season, Bryant may also be in line for the NL MVP this year as the anchor of a 103-win Cubs team.

“An award like this for KB could absolutely galvanize his thoughts about himself as a Major League Baseball player," Maddon said. "It’s a great achievement for him. I’m very happy for him. And I know he will humbly accept it in the right way.”

Josh Donaldson was the American League winner last season while Bryce Harper took home the NL honors.

Bryant is the second Cubs player to win the award after Sammy Sosa in 1999 (the first ever Hank Aaron Award). That season, Sosa hit 63 homers with 141 RBI, 114 rusn and a 1.002 OPS.