Any football win in the East Suburban Catholic Conference is a good win, but Nazareth just seems a little different.
That's especially true for a Benet squad that went into Friday's matchup riding a three-game losing streak to the two-time defending state champions.
The Redwings finally broke that streak with Friday's 26-21 victory over Nazareth at Lisle's Benedictine University.
"The last three years they've come in and handled us pretty well," said Benet quarterback Jack Sznajder, a third-year varsity player along with Alec McEachern. "We knew all week we had to give all we had every day just to prepare to beat a great football program, and it feels fantastic."
The Roadrunners (2-3, 0-3) had the ball at midfield in the final half minute with a chance to rally to a fourth straight win over the Redwings, but Benet cornerback Ben Cooney snared his seventh interception of the season and fourth in the last two weeks to seal the outcome.
On the Roadrunners' previous possession just two minutes earlier, Nazareth worked down to Benet's 25-yard line but the Redwings held on fourth-and-6.
"They're a big rival of ours, and they're always a great team obviously," Cooney said. "Our team has been built on resilience, so it feels great to get a win."
Benet (4-1, 3-0) took the lead for good at 20-14 midway through the third quarter on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Sznajder, who threw for 205 yards, to C.J. Birck. Sznajder's 1-yard run extended the fourth-quarter lead to 26-14, but Nazareth came right back to within 26-21 with 4:25 left on a 1-yard scoring run by Cameron Weems.
"We do look at this one as a big game for us," said Benet coach Pat New. "And it's such a turning-point game for us because 4-1 is so much easier than 3-2. Especially when you have these tough teams coming up."
Weems opened the scoring with a second-quarter interception return for a touchdown, but Benet tied it before halftime on Sznajder's 22-yard touchdown pass to Mike Challenger. Cooney's 80-yard punt return for a touchdown briefly gave the Redwings a 14-7 lead before Nazareth quarterback Andrew Rouse tied it on a 22-yard scoring run.
Marty Dosen rushed for 83 yards on 26 carries for Benet while Rouse rushed for 70 yards and threw for 159 for the Roadrunners.
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