By Eddie Burns
The big plays were not there for Benet, but the Redwings were willing to take what Andrew gave them and it led to a playoff win.
The second-seeded Redwings made enough plays to score a 24-10 victory against the seventh seed Thunderbolts in a Class 7A first round playoff game played Friday night at Benedictine University in Lisle. It was the Redwings first postseason win since 2006 against Alton.
We hung in there, Benet sophomore quarterback Jack Beneventi said. It was one of those grinding games.
It didnt start off promising as Beneventis second pass was intercepted by Kevin Walsh and returned to the Benet 10, but the Redwings defense held and forced the Thunderbolts to a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Benet (9-1) utilized a short-passing attack as Beneventi spread the ball around to eight different receivers. The Redwings took a 7-3 lead when Beneventi connected with running back Nick McTarnaghan for a 15-yard screen pass.
Im just happy everyone stuck with the plan, said Beneventi, who completed 26 of 36 passes for 254 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. We knew that the big plays might not bet there tonight and we took the short stuff. It is good to have so many options and we took advantage of that.
Fullbacklinebacker Jack Crain made it 14-3 with a 3-yard run.
McTarnaghan made the biggest play right before halftime. Beneventi dropped back to attempt a pass near midfield on the final play of the half, but he was hit by Andrews Brett Leifker and the ball came loose. Andrews Ryan Supple picked up the ball and raced toward the end zone, but McTarnaghan and teammate Tomas Cyvas managed to knock Supple out of bounds at the 1 as time expired.
I dont know how, but we managed to stop him, said McTarnaghan, who left last weeks Joliet Catholic game with a slight concussion. Im honestly not sure if I was going to get him, but we chased him down. It was a huge momentum for us to still be up 14-3 instead of maybe 14-10.
Andrew coach Jim Malec said that play gave his team confidence despite the fact they didnt score.
I thought (Supple) was going to get in there, Malec said. I think that play propelled us into halftime and got us thinking we could fight back. It got us more energized, but obviously things just didnt work out. We have nothing to be ashamed of.
The Thunderbolts (6-4) made it interesting when running back Jarvion Franklin (11 carries for 110 yards) busted loose for a 81-yard touchdown to cut Benets lead to 17-10 with 10 minutes left, but Beneventi and the Redwings responded with a 10-play, 83-yard scoring drive, which included Beneventi completing a crucial third-down pass to Jack Euritt. Beneventi eventually capped off the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Nick Surges with 4:57 left.
Benets defense forced Andrew into two second-half turnovers and limited the Thunderbolts to 215 yards of total offense.
I have to give them credit they are a great defense, said Andrew quarterback Jacob Platt, who completed 10 of 18 passes for 109 yards with interception. They are fast, strong and they were fun to play against. It was a great challenge. We just let this game get away from us by not taking advantage of chances we had.
Benet will host Oswego next weekend in a second-round game. The Panthers defeated Plainfield North, 28-21 on Friday night.