Benet remains unbeaten
You couldn't blame the Benet football team if it was not at its very best Saturday, what with the Homecoming dance afterward as well as a gauntlet of tough games coming up in the next month.
That said, the Redwings could not possibly have started any better against Marian Catholic. Nor could they have played any better than they did while building a 38-point lead at the half on their way to a 38-15 victory and a 5-0 start that has them making plans for a return trip to the playoffs.
After the Spartans were stuffed on three run plays on the afternoon's opening drive, punter Raymond Cantelo had his punt blocked by JohnPaul Lawler and recovered by Nick Bafia at the Marian 4-yard line. On the next play Redwings quarterback Colin Gillespie found Jacob Snell for a touchdown pass, and just like that it was 7-0.
Two plays later Bafia jumped a Spartans pass route for an interception that led to Gillespie's 6-yard scoring pass to August Mazza to make it 14-0 halfway through the opening quarter. The Benet defense forced another punt, and Lucas Kosiba promptly broke off a 29-yard touchdown run. The Redwings had run five plays to that point and led 21-0.
"That was our objective. Get out early and get up early," Benet coach Pat New said. "I was happy to see our guys respond. That was good efficiency … we always talk about that. That was good efficiency, absolutely."
And the hosts were not done. The Spartans (3-2) punted again on their next possession and a 29-yard catch by Jonathan Martin set the stage for a 13-yard run into the end zone by John Walsh making the score 28-0 early in the second quarter.
Later in the quarter Gillespie connected with Sean Torres for his third touchdown pass of the half. After five consecutive touchdown drives to open the game, Benet couldn't convert a first-and-goal from the 3-yard line in the final seconds, settling for a 20-yard field by Will Benish and a 38-0 lead at halftime.
"We talked about coming in and playing fast. The receivers stepped up big today and the 'O' line blocked really well," said Gillespie, who went 15 of 21 for 189 yards and three scores in the first half before turning the keys to the offense over to Michael O'Connor for the second half, which featured a running clock throughout. "It's great to get that fifth one. We have a tougher back half of the season so to get that 5-0 … it feels pretty good."
Snell, who helped a Redwings defense that blanked Marian Catholic for three quarters, said starting quickly was a key against a Spartans team with quick-strike capability in running back Tajheem Lawson, a speedster who has put up impressive numbers this year. Benet held Lawson to 20 yards in the first half before he heated up in the second half against mostly reserves to finish the game with 117 yards and two fourth-quarter scores.
"That's what we were going for. We wanted to start off strong, get up as much as we could, and it was good that everyone got to get in and play," said Snell a senior tight end/defensive end.
"That's definitely how we want to play, with the efficiency and all that. This is definitely a nice start to the season. It's what we wanted … because we have some tough games coming up. Getting the fifth win is key."
Benet plays a solid St. Laurence squad next week and then closes the regular season against powers Loyola, St. Rita and Nazareth.