While Friday wasn’t as high-scoring as some of its recent games, Nazareth’s offense showed versatility in a 35-13 East Suburban Conference victory over Benet.
Five players scored touchdowns as the Roadrunners (6-0, 3-0) came up with big plays on a consistent basis.
“[Friday] felt really good,” junior quarterback Carson Bartels said. “We knew we had to come out ready to play, especially against a good defense like Benet. All week we were mentally prepared and ready to go.”
Bartels, who started things off with a 3-yard TD on the Roadrunners’ opening possession, went 6 of 9 passing for 159 yards with a 36-yard TD pass to junior receiver Christopher Simmons in the first quarter and a 41-yard TD pass to junior receiver Christian Davis in the third quarter.
The ground game, led by senior running back Nolan Dean and junior Julian Love, kept the Benet linemen and secondary busy with a consistent attack. Love had 19 carries for 120 yards and Love added 15 carries for 55 yards.
“This game was a complete team effort for us,” Roadrunners coach Tim Racki said. “We were able to get everyone involved in the offense and kept them focused on what we needed to do.”
“Even though it was kind of an off night for us scoring-wise, we were able to still execute when we needed to and guys were busting their butts in practice to make this happen for us,” Bartels said.
Benet (4-2, 2-2) was behind from the start, but had a chance to make it a one-possession game after senior defensive Colin Brahler tackled Dean in the end zone for a safety to make it 21-5 with 1:31 left in the half.
“That was a great play by (Colin),” Benet coach Patrick New said. “He’s one of our best all-around athletes and has stepped up for us all year.”
Unfortunately, sophomore quarterback Jack Sznajder had his pass picked off at the 50 by Love, who weaved around the Redwings’ players for a touchdown and a 28-5 lead going into the half.
“It felt great,” Love said about his interception. “We knew they had the momentum after the safety and I think I iced the game on them.”
“After the safety, we got pumped up, and felt like we had the momentum going into the second,” Brahler said, “Then they recovered and hit us in the mouth.”
New was impressed with Nazareth.
“The game didn’t go as expected, but with the talent Nazareth has you have to play just about perfect and we didn’t make the plays we needed to,” he said.
Brahler had two tackles for a loss and assisted on a sack as a defensive lineman and had three receptions for 39 yards on offense. Senior running back Brad Sznajder had 29 carries for 130 yards and a TD for the Redwings.