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updated: 10/21/2016 11:23 PM

Win over Carmel sets up Benet for playoffs

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By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent

The Benet football team, having already qualified for the playoffs, wanted a strong showing against visiting Carmel on Friday night to gather momentum for the postseason and get the best possible playoff seeding.

The Redwings accomplished that mission, converting 3 of 5 Corsairs turnovers into touchdowns en route to a 38-14 victory in Lisle.

Benet finished the regular season 7-2 and 6-1 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Carmel stands at 5-4, 4-3.

Because the Corsairs had 48 playoff points going into Friday's game, both teams await the name of their first-round postseason opponent when the brackets are announced Saturday.

"We expect us to go out and perform our best and try to bring home a win," said Redwings junior Nick Keyes of next weekend.

Keyes scored the final Benet TD of the evening on a 37-yard pass from quarterback Jack Sznajder.

Sznajder had a big night passing, going 20 of 30 for 230 yards and 4 touchdown passes. He ran for another TD.

"We're ready. We've been getting better every week. The defense puts us in good position and takes a lot of pressure off the offense," Sznajder said.

Senior night was a simple case of the Redwings playing smart football. The opposition gave them opportunities, 5 total turnovers, and Benet took advantage of those opportunities.

However, the early portion of the game belonged to the Corsairs. A 20-yard pass from Jeremy Strutzel to Shaneal Greene set up a 33-yard TD run by Myles Tramill that put Carmel on the scoreboard first with three minutes left in the opening quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Benet got its first points of the evening on a 34-yard field goal by Victor Karam. A Corsairs fumble set up Sznajder's 8-yard run that gave the Redwings a 10-7 advantage with 2:27 left until halftime.

Benet's Erik Jones intercepted a pass on the ensuing Carmel drive, and six plays later Sznajder found C.J. Brick for an 8-yard scoring pass. The Redwings led 17-7 at halftime.

The Redwings got the ball to start the third quarter and drove 54 yard in 12 plays, ending with Sznajder throwing a 9-yard pass to Alec McEachern to make it 24-7.

Carmel fumbled on its next possession, and that converted into Sznajder's 41-yard heave to Marty Dosen and the Redwings were firmly in the driver's seat.

"Fortunately, we're healthy and it's nice to feel that we are on an incline. I didn't feel that way last season," said Benet coach Pat New. "We hadn't been that good in converting turnovers this season, but I was pleased with our effort tonight."

The Redwings fumbled with just over seven minutes left in the game, and Carmel scored again on Sean Lynch's 4-yard run.

Carmel coach Andy Bitto stressed to his team to make something positive from this performance as it prepares for the postseason.

"You can't give 5 turnovers to a good team. I told them to get serious, take this beating and learn from it," he said.

Bitto spoke of the 2007 Carmel team that got routed by Joliet Catholic Academy on the final night of the regular season and advanced to the semifinals.

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