Redwings crumble at hands of Nazareth, lose 45-7

To paraphrase the band Earth, Wind and Fire, the 21st night of September was not one to remember for the Benet Academy Redwings football team.

After a heated week of trash talking with the rival Nazareth Academy Roadrunners, the Redwings lost at Benedictine Stadium in a 45-7 blowout. The loss marked Benet’s second loss of the season and continued the Roadrunners’ undefeated 2018 campaign.

Nazareth, who entered the game as the second-best team in the state of Illinois, came in armed with several Division I-caliber players, including sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who already holds scholarship offers from several Power 5 colleges. Needless to say, Benet entered the matchup as the underdogs. Few could have imagined, though, that the Roadrunners would have played as well as they did.

Benet forced Nazareth to punt on their opening drive, but a 41-yard pass from McCarthy to wide receiver Diamond Evans on a go route set the Roadrunners up for a three-yard quarterback keeper by McCarthy to put them on the board. Nazareth went on to score touchdowns on six of their next seven offensive drives, with the only exception being a 27-yard field goal. Despite the Redwings having sacked McCarthy three times and putting consistent pressure on him, the quarterback was seemingly unfazed, delivering perfectly placed passes on a regular basis.

The Roadrunners finished the game with six plays resulting in gains of over 30 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown pass from McCarthy to wide receiver Michael Love on a wheel route in the second quarter. McCarthy ended the game with 416 passing yards and five touchdowns, with a bulk of his production having come in the first half. Both Evans and Love topped 100 receiving yards; they finished with 120 and 195 yards on six receptions each, respectively.

The Redwings also faced several misfortunes on offense, as they ended the game having entered the red zone once all game. They only picked up 90 offensive yards in the first half, and junior quarterback Colin Gillespie faced constant pressure from Nazareth’s front seven. Benet’s sole touchdown came on an 11-yard sweep by senior running back Ben Hickey out of a split back formation in the third quarter.

The Redwings, having lost their first two home games of the season, hope to turn things around on October 5, when they take on the St. Viator Lions over Homecoming weekend.