Benet sweats out win over Naperville North

  • Benet Academy's Jonathan Martin makes a one-handed catch for a first down against Naperville North in the second quarter in a football game in Naperville Friday, August 30, 2019.

      Benet Academy's Jonathan Martin makes a one-handed catch for a first down against Naperville North in the second quarter in a football game in Naperville Friday, August 30, 2019. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/1/2019 6:15 PM

It's not how you finish but how you start ... at least for one night.

Benet held on for Friday's 28-21 victory at Naperville North after breaking out to a 28-0 halftime lead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

What looked like it might turn into a running-clock football game ultimately came down to the final minute as the Huskies scored 21 straight points in the final eight minutes. With 33 seconds left, following Naperville North's third fourth-quarter touchdown, Benet quarterback Colin Gillespie fair caught a pooch kickoff to finally seal the opening-night win for the Redwings.

"We definitely got up big in the first half, and I think we just let our guard down in the second half," Gillespie said. "But we never quit. We stuck with it to the end."

Gillespie and first-year running back Sean Torres, normally a linebacker, dominated the first half. Torres rushed for 106 first-half yards while Gillespie added 71. Gillespie, who finished with 85 rushing yards and 90 passing yards, ran for 3 touchdowns and threw a 31-yard scoring pass to August Mazza.

Benet's defense, headed by Miami of Ohio-bound lineman Jacob Snell, limited the Huskies to minus-2 first-half yards, including minus-27 rushing yards.

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"We did what we needed to do to get the ball rolling," said Torres, who had 21 carries for 145 yards. "I feel like our offense was just clicking and our defense got a good pass rush on them. We kind of stopped them in their tracks."

With only six lettermen returning, Naperville North clearly struggled through first-half jitters. And some of the issues -- like nearly 100 penalty yards -- never went away.

But powered by quarterback Anthony Gabrione and receiver Matt Maschmeier, Naperville North also never let up. Gabrione completed 17 of 38 passes for 182 yards and touchdowns to Stephan Williams and Maschmeier, who had 5 catches for 49 yards and threw a 27-yard completion.

Regardless of the start, Huskies coach Sean Drendel saw plenty to build upon.

"The speed of the game was a little too fast early," Drendel said. "Once we got our stuff going, we have some kids who can make some plays. We just got going too late."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Benet, meanwhile, will gladly take the win ... regardless of the finish.

"A win is always great," said Benet coach Pat New. "I don't think our guys assumed they were going to win in the second half. I just think (Naperville North) really stepped up."

Twitter: @kevin_schmit

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