PREVIEW: Benet has eyes on one more game

Conference: East Suburban Catholic Conference

Coach: Pat New

Record last season: 10-3 overall (6-1 ESCC)

Playoff advancement: Lost 20-0 to eventual Class 7A state champion East St. Louis in the semifinals

Goals for 2017: Our motto this year is ‘One More.’ Last year we lost in the semifinals and this year, we are trying to get one more game in.

The team will reach its goals if: We know how hard we have to work and we are pretty fired up for the season. The key will be will be playing sound defense and executing on offense and special teams. This team has a lot of great team chemistry and I think that will be great.

Conference outlook: Marist is loaded with talent and I think Nazareth will be back stronger than they were last year. Joliet Catholic had a rough year last year, but they return a lot of players and I think they will be back and Carmel will be better.

On offense: I think this is one of the better offensive lines I have coached and I am excited about that. We are big up front and they are a really good group of guys. The offense always starts with your offensive line. We return two of our top receivers in seniors Jack Eschenbach and Nick Keyes. Senior Matt Boyle is at quarterback this year. Matt has played in varsity games the last two years and he is ready to go. He is looking good in the preseason.

On defense: We have two main returning starters in senior cornerback Ben Cooney and senior Devin Petersen at middle linebacker. We only have the two guys returning, but we have a lot of guys coming up that we are excited about. Connor Reid has looked really good for us at strong safety.

We have a transfer from California, Connor Burke, at linebacker. With our third linebacker, Michael Wymer, they may be the best three linebackers that we have had since I have been head coach.

On special teams: Our kicker, Victor Karam, is back and he is a heck of a nice kicker. We have a lot of depth this year, we have like 73 guys on the varsity roster and we have a lot of good linebackers and defensive backs and usually your special teams can be pretty strong when you have all those guys.

Impact returners: Danny Phillipp (Senior, OL), Shane O’Mara (Junior, OL), Jack Eschenbach (Senior, WR), Nick Keyes (Senior, WR), Jack Benish (Junior, DE), Victor Karam (Senior, K), Matt Boyle (Senior, QB), Ben Cooney (Senior, DB), Devin Petersen (Senior, MLB)

Impact newcomers: Jack Cooney (Junior, FS), Jackson Stephens (Junior, DL), Connor Burke (Junior, LB – transfer from California), Connor Reid (Senior, LB), Michael Wymer (Junior, LB)

New says: “We lost a lot of guys from last year and after last year, we were really concerned about it,” New said. “But then we started looking at depth charts and plugging guys in open spots and we are pretty excited about it going forward.”

Compiled by Mark Gregory with comments from the coach

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