By Luke Stanczyk
Behind a dominant defensive performance, the Benedictine Eagles football team took care of business for the fourth straight week, defeating Maranatha on the road 41-7 and winning their fourth consecutive game on Saturday afternoon.
It was the second straight trip the Eagles had taken up to Wisconsin, as they defeated Concordia-Wisconsin the Saturday before. However, while last week’s game was decided by just six points, BenU would control this game from start to finish by holding the Crusaders to just 77 total yards of offense.
Benedictine would score on the second play of their second drive, as junior running back John Borsellino took a handoff from senior quarterback Matt Brown 59 yards for a touchdown. An extra point by junior kicker L.J. Stolarski gave BenU a 7-0 lead.
After teams exchanged a few first quarter drives, the Eagles would tack on some more points early in the second quarter. Senior defensive back Andrew Taylor picked off a Crusader pass from senior quarterback Phil Littrell and took it 17 yards for a touchdown.
The defense would continue to wreak havoc on Maranatha’s ensuing possession, as junior defensive end Ben Lockton forced and recovered a fumble.
Seeing Lockton be a force on the defensive line is something that is not new to the Eagles.
“Ben has been a key addition to our team,” said Brown. “He’s a great player that can make a game-changing play at any time.”
BenU took over at midfield, and would score on a 37 yard touchdown pass from Brown to junior wide receiver Chris Schultz to go up 20-0.
On their next drive, the Eagles would march down field. After a costly Crusader penalty on a blocked field goal, BenU Head Coach Jon Cooper elected to go for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the three yard line. The decision paid off, as Brown would find senior wide receiver for a three yard touchdown.
The score gave Benedictine a 27-0 halftime lead. With the defense being as dominant as it was, it also put the nail in Maranatha’s coffin.
“The last two weeks, our defense has shut down the other team’s offense,” explained Brown. “It gives the whole team confidence knowing that they can just shut the offense down.”
BenU would add two more scores in the third quarter on a seven yard run from Borsellino and a 62 yard touchdown pass from Brown to Schultz. For the game, the Eagles recorded 495 total yards of offense.
“We were able to sustain long drives,” Brown said. “We were able to come up with big plays when we needed it.”
Statistically, Brown finished 14 of 21 passing with 226 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Schultz had five catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns, while Austin grabbed four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, Borsellino ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns. It was his fourth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
With the victory, Benedictine moved to 5-2 overall and 4-0 in the Northern Athletics Conference. Since Lakeland College was defeated on Saturday, the Eagles now hold sole possession of first place in the NAC.
“It’s big, but at the same time, knowing the teams in the conference, we need to win out if we want to get to where we want to be,” explained Brown on the team’s conference standing.
BenU comes back home this Saturday after its two-game road stint. They will host the aforementioned Lakeland Muskies at 1 p.m. at the Lisle-Benedictine Sports Complex.