Playing at 2012 Class 7A semifinalist Benet, the last thing South Elgin wanted was another bad start.
That's what it got, falling to the Redwings 41-12 Friday night at Benedictine University in Lisle.
When the Storm fumbled the snap on its first play from scrimmage, Benet senior Nick Surges was there to recover. Two plays later Porter Ontko gave the Redwings (2-0) the lead for good with a 5-yard touchdown run.
"That was key," said Benet coach Pat New. "Any time you can get a punch-in early and get up on a team is key."
"That was a big one," Benet two-way lineman Tommy Burke added. "Our momentum was so high after that. That kept going throughout the whole game. Scoring like that in the first 30 seconds just does a lot for your confidence."
If one touchdown helped the Redwings' confidence, two sent it soaring. Switching to the other side of the line, with help from a 15-yard South Elgin penalty, Burke and his defensive teammates forced South Elgin (0-2) to punt. Nine plays later, Ontko went in from 1 yard out.
"We wanted to come in on a roll so we were running well," said Burke, who had one of three Benet sacks on the defensive side of the ball. "We ran a lot of power and that was working for us, so we just kept doing what was working."
"We've had some injuries at center, and minus the first snap I'm very proud of how Braden (Krause) was able to persevere," Storm coach Pat Pistorio said. "He was our No. 2 tight end. We're down to our third center at this point. The game got better. A little bit of jitters at the beginning, but as the game went on we improved at that position."
Benet finished the first quarter by going through the air for its next touchdown, junior quarterback Jack Beneventi finding Joe Weidenbach on a 9-yard pass.
Then the game tilted the Storm's way in a strange way.
A South Elgin sack in the end zone resulted in a safety, cutting the Benet margin to 21-2. Forced to punt on its next possession, Benet had some snapping problems of its own, the ball sailing into the end zone, and punter John Duvic kicked it out the back. That gave the Storm another safety but kept it from a touchdown.
Another Ontko TD on third-and-goal at the Storm 1-yard line with 3.8 seconds to go in the second quarter gave Benet a 28-4 halftime lead.
"Our O-line is really strong this year," Burke said, "and I think that's one of the main factors in our success."
Benet added Duvic field goals from 40 and 27 yards plus a 5-yard TD run by backup running back Brad Sznajder in the second half. South Elgin scored offensively in the fourth quarter on a 34-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Christensen from Rob Cuda.
The only bad news on the night for Benet was a knee injury to Ontko early in the third quarter. He's due for a MRI on Saturday.
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