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Rally not enough as Benet falls to Nazareth

LA GRANGE PARK – Benet football fell from the undefeated ranks on Saturday.

The Redwings dropped a back-and-forth battle against Nazareth Academy, 28-18, snapping Benet’s 12-game regular season winning streak.

In the first half, in spite of a pair of sustained drives, Benet could only muster two field goals – 45- and 26-yarders from John Duvic. After the Redwings grabbed a 3-0 first-quarter lead on Duvic’s first field goal, the Roadrunner answered with 17 consecutive points.

“The offense simply could not finish, and defense and special teams then put us in a big hole early,” Benet head coach Pat New said.

Benet went three-and-out on four drives in the first half and quarterback Jack Beneventi totaled just 64 passing yards and an interception through two quarters. Additionally, a blocked punt deep in Benet territory led to a Nazareth 2-yard touchdown run that gave the hosts a 17-3 lead.

But Duvic’s 45-yard boot late in the first half generated some momentum for the Redwings, who trailed 17-6 at halftime. An offensive catalyst all season, Duvic nailed all four field goal attempts during the game.

“We left some points on the board but our team rallied a little bit in the second half,” New said. “We hadn’t faced much adversity this season, and I was proud of the way they came out and fought back in the third quarter.”

Running back Brad Sznajder led the comeback charge, rushing for 150 yards in the second half, including a 50-yard touchdown run that gave Benet an 18-17 advantage. Duvic had two field goals in the third quarter before Sznajder’s score.

“Brad has really stepped up for us the season,” New said. “He is a tremendous competitor and it is starting to show in the stat sheet.”

While the Redwings’ defense forced an interception in their own end zone and recovered a fumble near their goal line, field position was ultimately the deciding factor, as Nazareth needed only a 40-yard touchdown drive to take back the lead in the fourth quarter.

“This is a wake-up call for us,” New said. “I think we have been playing a little complacent. We need to overcome this lull and get back to playing to our full potential.”

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