by John Pierri
The Benedictine football team clinched a share of the Northern Athletics Conference title and a spot in the playoffs by defeating Rockford College 33-28 on Saturday afternoon.
This will be the second straight year that the Eagles will compete in the NCAA playoffs. Last year, the Eagles were NAC champions, a feat they can repeat with a victory against Wisconsin Lutheran College on Nov. 12.
Junior running back John Borsellino put the Eagles up early with a 21-yard touchdown reception, his first of his four touchdowns for the game.
Towards the end of the first half, the Eagles found themselves in a 21-14 deficit, but it was all Eagles after. They scored 14 unanswered points to go up 33- 21.
Rockford scored once more late in the game, but it was too little too late for the Regents.
Borsellino scored four times, accumulating 188 rushing yards and 19 yards receiving.
“We started out flat and we let them think they could win, but we ran the ball and passed the ball and could do what we wanted,” said Borsellino. “Anything can happen on any day in football, if we don’t come out and play our game, it’s gonna be a dog fight.”
“He [Borsellino] is a great running back,” added senior quarterback Matt Brown. “I mean, he had four of our five touchdowns yesterday. He is a tough, good player that when we give him the ball we know he will make a play and do something with it.”
With his four touchdowns, Borsellino tied the BenU record for touchdowns in a season with 17.
The Eagles compiled 342 yards of offense compared to Rockford’s 336, and the Regents won the time of possession battle by having the ball for around nine minutes longer than BenU. They had more first downs than the Eagles and Benedictine turned the ball over five times.
“We had to go back to the basics, we knew that the way Rockford was playing that we needed to take control of the time possession,” Brown explained. “We were running the ball on them, and we knew we needed to keep doing that to help out our defense because they were out there a lot because of our turnovers.”
“We got the victory, but we’d like to see us play better especially at the end of the season and before the playoffs,” Brown added.
The Eagles are the first team in the short history of the NAC to win back-to-back conference titles.
“We’re the first team to win back to back titles and that speaks highly of our team and what our coaches have done,” added Borsellino. “We were able to reload and bring in new kids and have them believe what we’re building here.”
“It feels good, it’s something that hasn’t been done in this conference and we feel pretty good about it,” Brown said. “It’s bittersweet [with] the way we played yesterday, but we know that we can play better and it is just matter of going out there and executing better.”
The Eagles have a chance to take sole possession of the NAC on Saturday when they host Wisconsin Lutheran College at 1 p.m.
“The only way we can lose is if we beat ourselves,” added Brown.