DOWNERS GROVE – The final score doesn't always tell the whole story.
That's the way Downers Grove South football coach Mark Molinari is looking at things after the Mustangs' season-opening loss to Benet on Saturday, a day after lightning forced a postponement Friday.
The Redwings had the advantage in every statistical category and won the game 21-0, but the Mustangs were just a few plays away from potentially writing a different outcome.
"On offense, we had a couple opportunities, but it was a situation where one guy makes a mistake and it throws the whole thing off," Molinari said. "It should have been a 14-7 ball game, but it wasn't because we didn't play our best."
Starting at their own 13-yard line early in the fourth quarter and the Redwings leading 14-0, the Mustangs (0-1) put together their best drive of the game. Jordan Skach hit Javon Turner twice for big gains, once for 19 yards on third-and-17 and then for 37 yards on fourth-and-8 at Benet's 37-yard line. The drive stalled thanks to a delay of game penalty and two tipped passes by Benet's defense on third and fourth downs. Moments later, Benet running back Porter Ontko embarked on a 63-yard scoring run that gave the Redwings a 21-0 lead with 3:17 to play. One last South drive went for naught.
Benet rode Ontko all game and he finished with 162 yards rushing and scoring runs of 19, 3, and 63 yards.
"They ran the ball on us a little bit in the first half," Molinari said. "Second half I thought we did a little better stopping the run, but the bottom line is we had a couple blown coverages where we had chances to get stops and we didn't do it."
The Mustangs struggled to establish their running game, partly due to Benet's stingy defense.
"We had a game plan that we were going to establish the run and then eventually throw the ball, but there were a few times where the defense was lined up where we didn't expect them to be and there were some missed blocks and stuff," senior running back Alec Arvanitakis said.
Skach and Turner displayed a nice report in the passing game, but a balanced attack will be the key going forward. Molinari said he knows his team can play better, and he expects improvement.
"We just had some guys that didn't have their best games today," Molinari said. "We'll go back and correct it so we can be better next week."