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Marist put an exclamation point on the period.
And what Benet coach Pat New attached to the first quarter of Friday night's East Suburban Catholic Conference game at Marist was a question mark. Simply put, he couldn't figure out what exactly happened to his Redwings.
For sure, little of it was good. Benet did reach the RedHawks' end zone once, but that touchdown was buried beneath four from the hosts. Three Redwings turnovers aided Marist's scoring, including an interception that was returned 15 yards for a touchdown by Notre Dame-bound Nic Weishar.
The deficit grew to 42-7 by halftime and Benet never fully recovered, as it suffered a 49-21 setback that knocked it out of its share of first place in the conference.
"The last time I saw something like that was when I was at Northwestern in the mid-'80s," said New, whose team finished with 7 turnovers in all.
"I don't know what else to really say about it. It was a comedy of errors."
No one on the Redwings' sidelines was laughing, however. Heads were down after Weishar and Flynn Nagel caught second-period TD passes from Jack Donegan to create the huge halftime margin for the RedHawks (5-3, 4-2).
"We can overcome a touchdown or two," New said. "Once you get down by 21 or 28, it's tough."
Nick Surges breathed some life into the Redwings (6-2, 3-2) by intercepting a third-quarter Donegan throw and bringing it back 70 yards for a score. Brad Sznajder added a 3-yard TD run later in the period, but Benet could get no closer.
"Hat's off to Marist — that's a first-class organization," Surges said. "Those guys like Weishar and Nagel and Donegan are great football players. They're well-coached and they came out with more energy than us."
Benet, which has dropped two in a row, closes out its regular season against Joliet Catholic next week. Already assured of a playoff berth and still with a chance to grab a piece of first place in the ESCC, New hopes his club can regain some of the momentum it lost the past two weeks.
"It's a huge concern for us," he said. "It's going to be a challenge."
"We've got to put this behind us," Sugres said.
Ryan Parks accounted for the Redwings' initial touchdown on a 90-yard kickoff return. He was later knocked out of the game on a hard hit, but New said Parks would be all right.