LISLE – The 2012 season was a historic one for Benet's football team which advanced to the Class 7A semifinals, the program's deepest playoff run since it claimed second place in the state in 1984. The Redwings lost six East Suburban Catholic all-conference players from that team, one of which was an all-state wide receiver, but Nick Surges believes the Redwings have plenty left for another deep postseason run.
Rossi: From last year to this year, what kind of work has the team put in?
Surges: Coming into last season, we knew we had to work hard. This year, to be where we were last year we have to work harder. To achieve our goals we have to work harder than we did last year. I definitely think this team did that, and I couldn't be prouder of our work ethic.
Rossi: Are guys prepared to have some extra attention and wear a target on your backs?
Surges: We know there's going to be expectations for our team, but right now we're just focused on Downers Grove South [in the opener]. Friday night we're kicking it off. That's what we're focused on and that's what our mentality is.
Rossi: What are most looking forward to on that first Friday of the season?
Surges: I think it's first game senior year. I've been waiting for it for so long, and a lot of these guys have been waiting for it for so long. Just to get this season started. We have such high expectations for ourselves and such high goals set, we're just anxious to get going.
Rossi: What's this senior group trying to instill in the younger players?
Surges: We're just trying to instill a new culture. Last year's seniors did a fantastic job instilling it in us, and we're just trying to instill a culture of winning. The best way to instill a culture of winning is by winning. That's our goal as a senior class. We're looking to leave a legacy that lasts forever.
WEEK 1 MATCHUP
Who: Benet at Downers Grove South
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: 1436 Norfolk St., Downers Grove
2012 records: Benet 11-2; Downers Grove South 4-5
Outlook: The two teams are coming off vastly different seasons. Making the playoffs for just the second time since 2007, the Redwings advanced to the state semifinal game. Junior QB Jack Beneventi, already being courted by Division I schools, returns to guide a prolific offense. Downers Grove South, which missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996 last fall, has a new head coach (Mark Molinari), new quarterback (Jordan Skach) and a new crop of running backs (Alec Arvanitakis and Le'devin Smith among them).
"I think what really keeps me up at night is our schedule. Our opponents are really tough this year. We start with two big Class 8A schools [Downers Grove South and South Elgin]. Downers South is a traditional football powerhouse so right now that's probably what keeps me up most." Pat New
BY THE NUMBERS
2,318: Passing touchdowns for Jack Beneventi in 2012
56: Total wins in 2012 for teams Benet will face this season
2: ESCC football titles last year for the Redwings (varsity and sophomore)
Aug. 30 at Downers Grove South, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6 South Elgin, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 St. Patrick, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Crete-Monee, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 at Marian, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 St. Viator, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Nazareth, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Marist, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 Joliet Catholic, 7:30 p.m.