On a night when the best team in school history was honored, the 1984 Benet team that reached the state title game, the Redwings set out to show that the program is still on solid ground 30 years later.
The Redwings rolled to a 66-7 East Suburban Catholic win Friday over Marian Catholic, securing a playoff spot in the process.
“It’s awesome,” Benet senior Brad Sznajder said. “We’ve been taking pride in getting this program’s image back to where it was in the ’80s. It’s been our goal to make a deep run in the playoffs and get the program back on its feet.”
Sznajder took it upon himself to set the tone early. He rushed for 205 yards and touchdowns of 11, eight and six yards on 24 carries, all coming in the first half.
“It’s always good to feel like you’re clicking on all cylinders, especially going into the playoffs,” Sznajder said. “I think this was really big for us.”
Benet (6-3, 4-3) jumped out to a 31-0 lead with four rushing TDs and a 29-yard field goal from Ryley Guay. Brad Sznajder scored two TDs, with Ricky Scheuller and sophomore quarterback Jack Sznajder also scoring.
“We’ve had a rough schedule and we really needed to break out, especially offensively,” Benet coach Pat New said. “We were able to do that. We’re really pleased to see how they performed.”
Even after Marian (1-8, 0-7) scored on a 66-yard TD pass from Cameron Thomas to Tyrice Richie, Benet kept running the ball. The Redwings rushed for 338 yards on 48 carries, scoring seven TDs. The second half featured TD runs from Scheuller and sophomore Marty Dosen.
“We know our advantage,” Brad Sznajder said. “We like to run the ball. We like to physically take over the game with our offensive line.”
Jack Sznajder had a solid game under center, going 9-for-16 for 114 yards and two TDs with 42 rushing yards.
“I was very proud of the way Jack played,” New said. “He had great reads, great poise, ran the ball well and threw the ball well.”
The architect of the ’80s glory days at Benet, Tim Cederblad, is the Redwings’ defensive coordinator these days. He finished his head coaching career with 99 wins. He was the honorary head coach Friday.
The Redwings return to the playoffs for the third straight season. New doesn’t feel that his team will be granted a home game in the first round, calling it an “outside chance.”
Regardless of the location, they’re just happy they’re back.
“We’ve got to get hot,” Sznajder said. “Anything can happen, so we’ll see.”