Marist tops Benet for ESCC crown
After losing their respective season openers, both Benet and Marist each came into this contest winning six straight contests.
Marist (7-1, 6-0) took home the 31-14 football victory as well as the East Suburban Catholic Conference title Friday night in Chicago.
"Marist is a great team and I think the big plays really hurt us tonight," said Benet coach Pat New. "They had a fumble recovered for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown. We just have to be able to limit big plays and capitalize on our opportunities."
Marist started the scoring, getting 10 points in the first quarter on a Tom Gillan 30-yard field goal followed by quarterback Mike Markett connecting with receiver Billy Skalitzky on 26-yard touchdown pass.
Benet (6-2, 6-1) responded with a touchdown of its own in the second quarter on a well-drawn play.
On a fourth down and short, Benet quarterback Jack Sznajder received the shotgun snap, took two quick steps forward looking to run for the first down but instead slung a beautiful 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Alec McEachern.
On the ensuing kickoff Marist junior running back Delonte Harrell returned the kick 83 yards for a Marist touchdown in what proved to be the decisive score of the game.
"I'm very proud of our guys tonight," Marist coach Pat Dunne said. "Offensively, defensively and on special teams I think we played well. Our defense played really well and responded in situations when we needed them most."
"It was a great game and very competitive," Harrell added. "We struck a few times, they struck back, then our defense rallied. I think we played very well in this win."
While he did get into the end zone on the ground, it was a rough day for Benet running back Marty Dosen. He finished with 19 yards on 10 carries and the touchdown while adding 2 catches for 27 yards through the air.
Dosen couldn't get going as the Marist defense consistently blew plays up in the backfield before they could get started.
Sznajder left the game after the first half due to injury but finished the night, completing 8 of 14 passes for 93 yards.
Junior Matt Boyle didn't find much more success through the air as Sznajder's replacement in the second half, completing 7 of 10 passes for 64 yards and an interception.
Benet wraps up the regular season next week at home against Carmel. Marist heads to Joliet Catholic to take on the Hilltoppers.