Benet picked up where it left off last season in Saturday's nonconference season opener against Downers Grove South.
The Redwings, who surprised some with a stellar run to the Class 7A semifinals last year, showed they will again be a team to be reckoned with in 2013 after dominating on both sides of the ball in a 21-0 victory over the host Mustangs.
Making the Redwings' win even more impressive was the mental fortitude needed to overcome a wild 24 hours. Severe weather caused the postponement of the game Friday night before two additional delays on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams dealt with the ups and downs of emotions of getting ready for the first game of the year.
"(Friday) we were breathing fire and had to deal with all this weather," said Benet linebacker Nick Surges. "Mother Nature was not a fan of us (Friday). We knew that the team that was going to win this game was the team that was more mentally tough. We showed that we are a serious team and that we will be a serious contender."
Surges had a monster game. The senior notched a personal-high 3 sacks and came close on numerous others as he found himself in the Downers South backfield time and again. He matched up quite well against Mustangs offensive lineman Erik Swenson, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound sophomore who already has scholarship offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and others.
As a team, the swarming Benet (1-0) defense held the Mustangs (0-1) to 124 yards of total offense, including 9 yards rushing.
"My philosophy is to build your team around defense," said Benet coach Pat New. "We have 11 great athletes who are fast and get to the ball. That's what we have done again this year."
The Redwings were impressive on offense, too, racking up 400 total yards of production. Quarterback Jack Beneventi, being courted by numerous Division I schools, was proficient with his passing and running back Porter Ontko piled up 161 yards on 17 carries, 3 of which went for touchdowns. Benet led 14-0 at the half.
The offensive line of Sean O'Mara, Jack Mitchell, Tyler Takahashi, Tommy Burke and Sean O'Connor opened nice gaps at the line of scrimmage and got downfield on passing plays. On one screen pass by Beneventi to Brad Sznajder in the third quarter, Mitchell broke out to deliver a pancake block on a Downers South defender to help Sznajder to a 20-yard gain.
"He is a beast, that kid," Lew said of Mitchell. "He has transformed himself and has worked extremely hard in the off-season. He plays with a little bit of nastiness too. He gets after our guys in a practice a bit."
Added Ontko: "Our offensive line played tremendous (Saturday). They are probably the most improved group over the off-season."
The Mustangs, who have several juniors playing varsity for the first time, didn't get much going offensively until quarterback Jordan Skach linked up with wideout Javon Turner on a 37-yard pass play to get into the red zone. Then the Redwings defense tightened up.
"(The Redwings) are a good team," said first-year Downers Grove South coach Mark Molinari. "They played well and got on us in the first half."