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It is hard enough in football to stand out on one side of the ball, let alone in all three phases of the game.
Benet senior Ryan Parks managed to make contributions across the board — offense, defense and special teams — to help the Redwings avenge their only East Suburban Catholic Conference loss from a season ago.
Benet started league play off on the right foot by defeating St. Patrick 37-13 on Friday night at Benedictine University.
Parks, who plays receiver and defensive back, also sees time on kick returns. And it was in this area where he really made his presence really felt.
The Redwings (3-0, 1-0) were never truly threatened, but after Shamrocks quarterback Zach Fuller connected with running back Jeremy Molina for a 23-yard scoring pass, the Benet lead was 23-13 lead with nine minutes left. And, for the first time, the momentum had seemingly started to turn in St. Patrick's favor. But Parks took it right back as he ran the ensuing kickoff back 84 yards for a touchdown to give the Redwings a far more comfortable 30-13 lead.
"I've never done that before," said Parks about his kickoff return. "It was one of those things were guys made blocks and we just stepped up and made a play."
Parks wasn't touched by the Shamrocks' defense during his return. He also had an interception and managed to catch 2 passes for 15 yards on offense.
The contest marked the first for the Redwings since starting running back Porter Ontko was lost to a season-ending knee injury. Junior Brad Sznajder started in Ontko's place and produced 117 yards on 17 carries with 2 touchdowns, including scoring runs of 40 and 19 yards.
"I was just trying to pick up the slack and do what I could," Sznajder said. "There was a pretty darn good offensive line blocking in front of me, so it was not that tough to run when they creating such big holes and running lanes."
Benet quarterback Jack Beneventi completed 15 of 22 passes to eight different receivers for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Redwings now turn their attention to defending Class 6A champion Crete-Monee as Benet has a road date with the Warriors next Friday in Crete.
"We'll have a good week of practice and we'll be ready, we are confident," Sznajder said. "There is nothing better than being involved in a big game."
Molina led the Shamrocks (1-2, 0-1) with 23 rushes for 114 yards to go along with his 23-yard scoring reception.
Benet's defense forced 3 turnovers and limited Fuller to completing 7 of 23 passes for 152 yards with 2 touchdowns.