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Benet’s slide continues in playoff loss

CHICAGO – A promising start to Benet’s football season is now a distant memory.

After winning six straight games to begin the regular season, the Redwings dropped the next four contests, including a 49-6 defeat against Mt. Carmel in the first round of the 7A playoffs Friday night.

In their first round playoff game against second-seeded Mt. Carmel at Gately Stadium, the Redwings’ offense surrendered two turnovers – including a first quarter pick six – and the defense was overpowered by Mt. Carmel’s vaunted offense.

Caravan quarterback Marko Boricich threw for three touchdowns in the first half and two-way starter Christian Searles added a trio of scores in a four-minute span in the first quarter as the home team ran away with the game. It was a sour ending to what started as a sweet season.

After Benet downed St. Viator 38-14 on Oct. 4, it looked as if the Redwings would contend for a East Suburban Catholic Conference championship and a top postseason seed.

But the team lost consecutive games to Nazareth, Marist and Joliet Catholic and was jumped in the East Suburban Catholic Conference standings by all three schools when the dust settled on the regular season.

Ultimately, the Redwings were handcuffed by the loss of two-way standout and starting running back Porter Ontko, who was lost for the season after suffering an ACL injury in the second game of the season.

Although running back Brad Sznajder played well filling in for Ontko, the speedy back and special teams ace could not single-handedly carry the load for the offense.

As a result, Benet fell behind early in the last three games of the regular season and the lone playoff matchup. Opposing defenses keyed in on highly-regarded quarterback Jack Beneventi, who was continually thrust into throwing situations. Mental mistakes and turnovers crippled offensive drives and placed the defense precarious starting situations.

While Redwings’ the season ends on a flat note, several playmakers will return next year for their senior seasons. Juniors Beneventi and Sznajder, as well as 13 receivers and defensive backs, are slated to return for their final year next fall.

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