Momentum may swing away but one thing is certain.
You always want to be the team holding it at the end of a football game.
Nazareth's late surge led to Saturday's 28-18 East Suburban Catholic Conference victory over previously unbeaten Benet in LaGrange Park, breaking the Redwings' 12-game regular-season winning streak.
The Roadrunners (5-2, 3-2) scored the game's last 11 points while rallying from an 18-17 fourth-quarter deficit.
Carson Bartels hit Julian Love on a 21-yard touchdown pass as Nazareth took a 25-18 lead with 2:50 left following a 2-point conversion. Nazareth sealed the win on Benet's next possession when Decxavier Kelly-Martin intercepted a tipped pass.
Michael Hillsman's second 37-yard field goal boosted the Roadrunners' advantage to 28-18. Ahead by two scores, Nazareth began the celebration.
"We make sure to never worry about records, games they played, who they played," Kelly-Martin said. "It was all about this game today. It was like any other team. We knew we had to work hard."
After Benet (6-1, 3-1) took a 3-0 first-quarter lead on John Duvic's 26-yard field goal -- one of his four field goals on the day -- Nazareth seized command by scoring the next 17 points.
Benet struggled through an interception, four three-and-outs and a blocked punt by Kelly-Martin, which led to Ivory Kelly-Martin's 2-yard scoring run. Benet recovered heading into the break thanks to Duvic's 45-yard field goal, but the Redwings still trailed 17-6.
Benet managed only 64 first-half yards. Quarterback Jack Beneventi completed 11 of 30 passes for 91 yards for the game.
"We just weren't in sync," said Benet coach Pat New. "Credit goes to Naz, that's a solid defense. We just couldn't get it going and sustain a drive, except for one drive. They did a great job defending us."
Benet settled for Duvic field goals on its first two drives of the second half to trim the deficit to 17-12 late in the third quarter. The Redwings especially felt they left some points on the field when they failed to convert a first-and-goal into a touchdown.
The Redwings had momentum on its side the entire third quarter while sandwiching three scores around a pair of Nazareth three-and-outs. Brad Sznajder, who rushed for 150 yards, scored on a 50-yard romp to finally give Benet an 18-17 advantage.
Field position again dictated the fourth quarter as Benet couldn't get beyond its own 37-yard line until the game's final drive. The Redwings' defense held firm behind Joe Weidenbach's end-zone interception and Jason Blohm's fumble recovery at the 1.
Benet's defense, however, couldn't hold back Nazareth again. The Roadrunners needed to go only 40 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
"Any kind of win is a good win against a team like that," said Nazareth coach Tim Racki. "Regardless of how we won, the fact that we came out on top after 48 minutes, I'm very proud of my young men."
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