Benet scores comeback victory at St. Laurence
Not much came easy for either side Friday when Benet put its unbeaten record on the line at St. Laurence, although what proved to be the winning touchdown did appear to come easier than you'd expect.
After three second-half turnovers had the Redwings trailing the Vikings by 3 points in the fourth quarter, the 6-0 Redwings got the ball back when linebacker Daniel Glimco recovered a St. Laurence fumble. That set up Colin Gillespie's touchdown pass to Luca Hall, a play that proved to be the difference in a thrilling 21-17 road win for Benet in the CCL/ESCC Orange Division.
On the key play Gillespie floated a short pass to Hall on the right side. When the receiver snared the ball and turned toward the end zone, he was pleasantly surprised to see a wide open section of turf with only a few Benet blockers between him and the goal line.
"Coach (Pat) New had been setting that play up, but when I turned I couldn't believe nobody was there," said Hall, whose 15-yard touchdown stood as the game-winner, but not before the Redwings needed to stop the Vikings on a first-and-goal situation late. "It was a back-and-forth game, but we came out and fought hard."
It was an up-and-down, back-and-forth game all the way around. Benet struck first on a Gillespie touchdown run, only to have the Vikings (3-3) answer with a pair of long scoring runs for a 14-7 lead after one quarter. Nate Thomas broke off a 73-yard touchdown run on his way to 161 yards rushing and Brailyn Johnson sprinted 49 yards to the end zone for another score for the hosts.
Benet drew even at 14-14 at the half after a Sean Torres 4-yard run, but a Benet offense accustomed to scoring 30-plus points a game sputtered in the second half. The Redwings had three turnovers before Glimco's much-needed recovery. The 6-foot senior linebacker also stuffed out a fourth-and-1 run by the Vikings in the second half, coming away with two of the bigger defensive plays of the game.
"Of course momentum was huge in the second half," Glimco said. "That fumble turned the game around. And on the fourth-down stop, we've got great defensive tackles and they allowed me to come in and just clean things up."
Gillespie, whom New said was down a bit after throwing a costly interception into the end zone when Benet was looking to score in the third quarter, came up big on the winning drive. He completed three straight passes for 65 yards -- including a third-and-23 conversion pass to John Walsh good for 26 yards to the 15. Two plays later he tossed the ball to Hall for the winning score.
"These guys have such great heart and they showed it tonight," New said. "St. Laurence is real good and with their team, speed we knew they were going to get some scores. But Daniel (Glimco) was huge, Colin sure showed what he's made of after he had turned the ball over, and our defense came up with a big stop when we needed it the most."