Benet appreciated its football victory Friday night against visiting Joliet Catholic, but that doesn't mean the Redwings were impressed with the win.
The Redwings never trailed in a 38-21 East Suburban Catholic Conference triumph in Lisle, keeping Joliet Catholic winless.
"It's nice to beat them," Benet coach Pat New said. "They're still Joliet Catholic despite the record. To us that's a big win for us because that's a traditional powerhouse and a great program."
Benet (6-1, 6-0) opened the scoring with running back Marty Dosen's 13-yard first-quarter touchdown run. Joliet Catholic evened the score at 7-7 with Patrick Roth's quarterback keeper, but the Redwings broke free in the second quarter.
Running back Alec McEachern ran 2 yards for a TD, caught an 8-yard TD pass from quarterback Jack Sznajder, and senior cornerback Erik Jones ended the half with a 74-yard interception return for a score. It was the first of two Benet defensive touchdowns.
"Our defense scoring-wise was good, but we have to clean up a lot of things," Benet linebacker Ryan Liszka said. "Especially our run (defense). We couldn't stop the run today."
Joliet Catholic relied heavily on running back Keenan Hailey to get back in the game, cutting the Benet lead to 31-21 with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter.
"I was disappointed in giving up 21 points," New said. "We had a poor effort overall on defense. It's great we had 2 touchdowns. But we need to improve quite a bit to defeat Marist (next week) if we have any hope at all of winning."
New wasn't that impressed with his offense, either.
"That second half was terrible," the Benet coach said. "I wasn't that happy. We just didn't play well."
The Benet defense rose to the challenge in the final minutes, sacking quarterback Aidan Tyrell and forcing a fumble, which Liszka returned 16 yards for the touchdown ended the Hilltoppers' comeback hopes.
"That was big because it was starting to get a little scary toward the end," New said. "That play was huge for us."
Speaking of huge, the Redwings travel to the southwest side of Chicago next Friday for a key league game, hoping to extend their winning streak.
"None is as big as the next one," Liszka said. "We're going against Marist for pretty much the conference (title). That will be bigger than any of them."
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