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Already having completed one of the best turnarounds in the state of Illinois in going from 1-8 in 2011 to 8-1 and claiming a share of the program’s first East Suburban Catholic Conference title, Benet has been quite the success story in 2012.
Now the question in front of the Redwings is how more chapters will be written in the success story that has been their 2012 campaign.
With its first eight-win season since 1997 now in its back pocket and hosting a postseason game for the first time since 2004 tonight, second-seeded Benet will be looking to keep the good times rolling by starting its Class 7A postseason play opposite seventh-seeded Andrew in Lisle.
Andrew finished 6-3 and 5-2 within the Southwest Suburban Red and it’s the performance Andrew turned in last week that has hit Benet coach Pat New’s radar as he hopes to lead the Redwings to their first postseason victory since 2006.
“Defensively, they’ve been shutting people down,” New said. “They shut out Thornton and when you shut out Thornton and beat them 27-0; that creates a cause for concern, certainly. … Thornton ended up 7-2, so shutting them out 27-0 is pretty impressive.”
During a five-game winning streak midway through the season, the Thunderbolts’ defense posted a pair of shutouts while allowing a combined 40 points.
Recovering after a pair of losses to post last week’s shutout of Thornton, a program which went 7-2 and whose only other loss was a 34-20 home loss to Naperville North in Week 2, Andrew’s defense now gets a look at an offense that Andrew coach Jim Malec referred to as “pretty versatile.”
“Their skill guys are really good. (Benet senior wide receiver Jack) Euritt (is a) good-sized kid. I mean, he’s 6-4, 185 pounds. Him running up and down the field like that just (stands out on film),” Malec said. “They look like (they’re big) and I see their roster here and stuff like that and they look big on film, too. They look like a real solid team. Some really good skilled athletes and they’ve done a great job for themselves this year, obviously.”
In the Redwings’ 31-21 victory over Joliet Catholic last week, sophomore QB Jack Beneventi continued his dramatic progress, completing 28-of-34 passes for 388 yards, eclipsing his own program single-game record he set earlier this year at St. Patrick, and four touchdowns.
Beneventi, one of 10 Redwings named to the ESCC’s All-Conference team, and the rest of the Redwings’ offense will be asked to try and keep pace with an Andrew offense led by the likes of quarterback Jacob Platt, running back Jarvion Franklin and wide receivers Dennis Vilimek and Dan Ball.
Platt has thrown 12 touchdown passes, with eight going to Vilimek, and Franklin has rushed for 941 yards and 14 TDs for a Thunderbolts’ offense averaging 29.6 points a game.
“I’d like to (run the ball more). Against Joliet Catholic, we struggled running the ball and I’d like to establish a little bit of a run game here against Andrew,” New said. “But if Jack gets on, we’ll continue with our spread offense.”