A packed homecoming crowd watched Benet lose a heartbreaker Friday night in Lisle.
Benet quarterback Nick Mankowski threw for 116 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn't enough as Benet fell 17-14 to Marist in East Suburban Catholic Conference play. Marist's Cillian Gannon booted a 22-yard field goal as time expired, sending Benet to another gut wrenching loss.
"It's a tough one to lose," said Benet coach Pat New. "That's a great football team we lost to. But we gotta learn how to win games and finish."
Benet's young defense held strong through 30 minutes, keeping the RedHawks off the board. But RedHawks receiver Ryan Meyer proved too much as the game wore on, both offensively and defensively.
"He's a guy that can play everywhere," Marist coach Pat Dunne said. "This is the third week in a row where he's had an interception. He's a true leader of this team. He talked to the guys at the half and got them fired up. There's no low gear on him this guy is full throttle."
A penalty-laden drive resulted in the first score for Benet. After being pushed back 25 yards for an intimidating second and 35, Benet charged down the field. Mankowski completed a 21-yard pass to senior Bobby Hayes and was further rewarded with a 15-yard roughing penalty against Marist. Benet marched down the field, and drew another penalty, this time a pass interference that put them inside the Marist 10. Sophomore Porter Ontko punched in a 2-yard touchdown run, and Benet led at the end of the first quarter 7-0.
A smart play by linebacker Jim Lynch led to Benet's second score. Lynch snagged a short punt at the Benet 30-yard line and raced down the sideline, getting tripped up at the Marist 25.
The Redwings offense stalled, but received a second chance on a running into the kicker penalty. The missed field goal became a fourth and 1, allowing Benet to convert a first down. Mankowski made sure the Redwings did not leave the red zone scoreless, hitting Jack Euritt with a 7-yard strike for a 14-0 halftime advantage.
"Nick is such a competitor," New said. "No one wants to win more than that guy."
Benet (0-4, 0-4) gave up its first score late in the third quarter when Marist quarterback Ian Woodworth tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Meyer, cutting the deficit to 14-7. Marist (3-1, 3-0) struck again on a 19-yard touchdown connection between Woodworth and Meyer. Both defenses contained the opposing offense until the final play of the game, when Hannon kicked the game winner.
""You have to give credit to Marist's offense," New said. "They stepped up when they needed to. We have some young DBs back there."