In dire need of a fast start, Benet could not have imagined a better beginning then what the Redwings experienced Friday night in Lisle.
Hosting an unbeaten, Class 5A state-ranked team from Marian Central Catholic, the Redwings were looking to put last week's disappointing loss behind them. An impressive opening touchdown drive was followed by an interception return for a score. A blocked punt set up a field goal by Victor Karam as the Redwings (2-1, 1-1) jumped ahead 17-0 less than seven minutes into the game en route to a surprising 27-0 defeat of the Hurricanes.
"We wanted to bounce back after a loss, and our mentality is we wanted to start out fast," said senior safety Connor Reid, whose 14-yard return the other way of a Gavin Scott pass gave Benet a 14-0 lead just four minutes into the game. "Those two quick scores, that really set the tone for us."
Reid's interception followed the Redwings' opening drive, a 10-play, 80-yard march capped by a 14-yard scoring pass from Matt Boyle to Ben Cooney, who like Reid recorded two of the Redwings' five interceptions in the game.
Junior linebacker Michael Wymer also had an interception, but first he recorded the blocked punt that led to a field goal and the early 17-0 lead on the visitors.
"It was a great beginning. That really set the tone and it really helped us," Benet coach Pat New said. "Last week we were so slow starting and it was great to get that going tonight. We needed that. Our guys were ready to play."
The tough beginning for Marian Central Catholic (2-1) only got worse when both Scott and top running back Brian Niemaszek each left the game in the first half with injuries. With the two key cogs out, the Hurricanes struggled to mount much of an offense while Benet added a 22-yard touchdown run by Boyle for a 24-0 lead at the half.
"Benet's a good team," Marian Central coach Mike Maloney said. "Give all the credit to Pat and his crew over there. They had them ready to play. They were flying around."
Cooney one was one of many Redwings to come up big, but he was quick to credit the defensive line for making life difficult on all three of the visitors' quarterbacks.
"People don't realize it but most of those interceptions were because of the (defensive) line. They got so much pressure the whole game and forced bad throws," said the junior, who had 2 catches for 50 yards on offense to go with his two interceptions.