Sunday, May 26, 2013

After bugging Benet Academy... post their 2013 football schedule on the school's Web site, I received a tweet today directing me to I'll save you the trouble of clicking on it (last year's records in parentheses):

Aug. 30 @ Downers Grove South (4-5)

Sept. 6 South Elgin (4-5)
Sept. 13 St. Patrick (7-4)
Sept. 20 @ Crete-Monee (14-0)
Sept. 27 @ Marian Catholic (1-8)

Oct. 4 St. Viator (5-5)
Oct. 12 @ Nazareth (5-4)
Oct. 18 @ Marist (8-2)
Oct. 25 Joliet Catholic (8-5)

The Redwings went 11-2 last year and made it to the 7A semifinals where they were eliminated by Lincoln-Way East, 37-13. (The Griffins went on to lose the final in a nail-biter to Glenbard West, 10-8.)

But 2012 was a heck of a turnaround for Benet, who went 1-8 the previous year. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the 2011 Redwings scored a total of 43 points all season. Their high-water mark was the 14 they scored in a losing effort to Marist. And in their lone victory over Washington of South Bend, Indiana, they could  manage only six points. The 2012 squad, in comparison, averaged 32 points a game, including 62 against a different Washington. (Did I read that right?) Bottom line: if your school is named "Washington," don't schedule a football game against Benet.

Actually, the real bottom line is that in only three seasons, Coach Pat New has taken the Benet program from an also-ran in the East Suburban Catholic Conference to a contender for the 7A title. Not bad.

And this year could be even better. Behind the signal-calling of 6'6" junior Jack Beneventi, above, (who already has offers from Illinois, Iowa and Notre Dame) the Redwings should be right back in the hunt. (I tell ya, these kids from Benet are so clean-cut they even wear ties under their jerseys!)

After two warm-up games against Downers Grove South and South Elgin, Benet is scheduled to face St. Patrick at home, the one team that beat them in the regular season last year, 17-16. I have to think the Redwings will be sky-high for this one and should return the favor.

So that puts Benet at 3-0 (or at least 2-1) going into what could be its toughest test of the year: on the road against defending 6A champs, Crete-Monee. Whoa. The good news? Laquon Treadwell, last year's Chicago Tribune Player of the Year, has moved on. Phew! The bad news? The Warriors have two highly-rated defensive players that could give Beneventi headaches: linebacker Nyles Morgan and defensive end Chris Slayton.

Will Benet survive its trip down to Crete in Week Four? I don't know, but I may very well have to go down there to find out. If the Redwings win, they're definitely for real. If not, they can lick their wounds the following week against Marian Catholic, a team that struggled last year.

So at the end of September, whither Benet? I'll say 4-1, with a loss to either St. Patrick or Crete-Monee. (5-0 would be a stretch.) Not too shabby, but October doesn't look to get any easier for the Redwings.

While the Lisle squad shut out St. Viator and Nazareth last year, both programs should be more competitive in 2013. Marist, led by Irish recruit Nic Weishar, will be itching to extract revenge from last year's 34-24 defeat, its only regular season loss. And, finally, Joliet Catholic, minus Ty Isaac, will also be out to avenge last year's 31-21 loss.

(By the way, will Beneventi be throwing to Weishar in a couple of years at ND? Sounds like Coach Brian Kelly could use him right now.)

As of today, I'll predict Benet goes into the postseason at a deceptively strong 7-2. While that's a touch worse than last year's 8-1, I expect the Redwings to be a better team going into the 2013 playoffs. Can they make it all the way down to Champaign DeKalb? Gosh, I don't know. But they should be fun to watch!

P. S. Now if I could just get Mount Carmel and Notre Dame to post their schedules...

No comments: