The Benet Academy Redwings beat Downers Grove North Saturday to advance to the state semifinal against Lincoln-Way East Saturday, Nov. 17.
Breaking It Down: Jack Beneventi-to-Jack Toner, a connection that will haunt the Downers Grove North football team all offseason—and probably beyond. The duo hooked up with no time left on a 4-yard touchdown pass that gave Benet Academy a 26-24 win over Downers Grove North on Saturday, Nov. 10.
After storming back from a 20-7 deficit to take a 24-20 lead with 4:55 left, the Trojans had swung momentum in their favor with two forced fumbles, an interception and 17 unanswered points in the second half.
The only problem was nobody told the Benet Academy it was time to quit. Down but not out, the Redwings couldn't get anything going in the second half until they took the ball over with just over a minute on the clock and 65 yards and the Trojans defense standing between them and victory.
With a cool, calm demeanor Beneventi led his troops 61 yards before spiking the ball at the Trojans' 4 with 3.4 ticks left on the clock. Spreading the field, the Redwings' Toner lined up wide right and broke off the line at the snap. Fighting for position as Beneventi bought time in the pocket, he broke just free enough for Beneventi to unleash a sailing pass. Toner lept and hung, finally hauling in the pass and dragging one foot across the turf before crashing on to the end line, the ball in his grasp.
From there, pandemonium. An explosion of cheers, a rush of white jerseys toward the end zone and silence from the Downers Grove North sideline. As the Redwings improbably moved on, the Trojans season just as improbably ended.
Patch’s MVP: Jack Toner, wide receiver, senior, Benet Academy. Toner was knocked out of the game briefly after going across the middle in the first quarter and was quite most of the game. However, as the clock struck triple zeros, he made sure he was heard, hauling in the game-winning 4-yard touchdown pass. He finished with 49 yards on four catches, and possibly the biggest touchdown of his career.
Benet Academy Stat Pack: Jack Beneventi finished with 220 yards passing on 25-of-45, with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Porter Ontko rushed for 50 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown and two fumbles. Nick McTarnaghan had a rushing and receiving touchdown. Griffin Huba recovered a fumble.
Downers Grove North Stat Pack: David Edwards rushed for 53 yards on 17 carries, with a touchdown. Vontae Diggs blocked a punt, which he then recovered and returned for a touchdown. Brandon Salter rushed for a touchdown.
Quotable I: “It was a great throw, it was a great play. It's great, I can't explain it. I don't have words for it.”—Jack Toner, wide receiver, Benet Academy on his game-winning touchdown catch.
Quotable II: “That's three seconds that I wish we had back, but we can't get them back.”—John Wander, Downers Grove North coach, on the game's final play.
Team Records: Benet Academy improves to 11-1, while the loss closes out the books for Downers Grove North (7-5).
What’s Next: Benet Academy will play the winner of the Lincoln-Way East vs. Edwardsville game in the Class 7A semifinals next weekend.
IHSA 7A Playoff Scores: Lake Zurich 21, Rockford Boyland 6; Glenbard West 3, Wheaton North 0. For more scores, check out the IHSA Score Zone.
Benet will host Lincoln-Way East at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 for the semifinal game.