Outnumbered Lisle hangs with Coal City, but only for a half
Coal City sophomore running back Landin Benson is mild mannered and quiet, bordering on shy.
He prefers to let his play on the football field do the talking for him.
Benson rushed 19 times for 199 yards Friday in a 31-0 victory over Lisle at Benedictine University. Part of that production was touchdown runs of 61 and 18 yards, both in the second half, which put the game away after a basically even first half.
"The first quarter was a little rough, but followed through the line and just found the holes and had good cuts and found my way to the touchdowns," Benson said.
The other person who spoke highly on Benson's behalf was Coalers coach Francis Loughran.
"He's a very good runner, good vision," Loughran said. "You wouldn't know he's a sophomore. He just goes to work. Every week you sit there and watch him find something to impress you."
The first half was akin to a chess match, with Lisle giving up only a 27-yard field goal to Coal City kicker Braiden Young with 6:38 in the first quarter. But while the Lions kept the Coalers and Benson out of the end zone, they couldn't generate enough offense, advancing only as far as the Coalers' 48-yard line on the last play of the second quarter.
They wouldn't advance any further the rest of the way, prompting coach Paul Parpet Sr. to mutter as the game was near conclusion, "We ran out of bullets."
Lisle, which suited up just 16 players, had a bit of a scare at the halftime buzzer when senior quarterback Tyler Anderson went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury. He bounced back in the second half after giving way to senior running back Dominic Nigro for a few series.
"I'm very proud of our guys up front," Anderson said of the first half. "They held them when they needed to. That's a tough, very physical team. I think our short passing game started to work fairly well. Our running was a little slow, but once we got our blocking schemes down it started to work out for us."
It feels early, but this game had playoff implications. Coal City improved to 3-2 (2-1 in the Illinois Central Eight), and two more wins likely will place the Coalers in the playoffs.
"I think we're improving every week," Loughran said. "We did have a rough schedule to start, and I think that's going to make us better in the end."
Lisle, on the other hand, fell to 2-3 (1-3), with powers Wilmington and Peotone still on the schedule.