By Mark Gregory
After a loss to Marist on Oct. 13, Benet Academy found itself sitting at 5-3, with its second quarterback of the season and coach Pat New was wondering if the team’s preseason motto was a
“This is what we fought for and it is kind of cool that it happened,” New said. “There was one point in the year, I thought we might be 3-6 and I would have looked foolish with that motto, but it worked out.
“We have been here before and we are not surprised – this is what we were fighting for.”
The No. 17 seed Redwings earned the spot in the IHSA Class 7A state semifinals with a 14-10 win over No. 9 Lincoln-Way Central.
After scoring on its opening drive of the game, Benet saw its offense sputter with fumbles and dropped passes – but while the offense was getting back in a groove, the defense clamped down on a Central (10-2) team that had averaged 35.3 points per game this season.
The Redwing defenders came through every time it looked as if the Knights were about to
“I love our defense,” said linebacker Devin Petersen. “For the past two years, it has been awesome to be a part of it and the thing is, it is not just one stud – it is everyone together. We always give it our all and we play the way we would if it was our last play. That is a great football team, our guys never quit.”
The defense has been a constant for Benet – who as allowed only 17 points per game.
“They were awesome and I have total confidence in them and I know we are going to be in a close game no matter who we play because when you have a strong defense,” New said. “It keeps you in every game and that is a big part of the program’s philosophy.”
Leading 7-0 at the break, Benet found itself down 10-7 in the final minute of the third quarter.
“We talked last night and we talked as a team and I showed them a clip from ‘Game of Thrones’ and I told them that this is what happens in the playoffs – sometimes you feel like you are going to win and sometimes you think you are going to lose and it will go back and forth,” New said. “(In that third quarter) I told them that this was a time where it looks like we were going to lose, but we battled back. I can’t say enough about our players. They stepped up. They never quit and just continued to battle.”
Petersen said while it came down to effort – there was a lot of game-planning for the game,
“There were a lot of meetings this week and they have a tough offense and it is amazing that we were able to scheme against a tough offense, bit in the end, it all came down to effort,” he said.
The Redwings will not host No. 4 Batavia (11-1) at 1 pm Saturday at Benedictine University.