It didn’t take long for Benet’s Brad Sznajder to get going. Just after Notre Dame turned the ball over on downs with 6:31 left in the first, he took off the right end for a 45-yard run.
Two carries later, he was in the end zone.
That became the story all night for Sznajder, who used 141 yards in the first half and 253 in all to lift Benet over Notre Dame 23-0 in East Suburban Catholic Conference action on Friday night.
Using a powerful ground game, Benet (3-0, 1-0) raced out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
“We tried to do a lot of inside zones, some outside runs, but our offensive line did a great job of giving me a seam to wiggle through,” Sznajder said. “That’s all I had to do after that.”
Sznajder finished with two touchdowns — one coming from 53 yards out with 9:36 left in the fourth — on 23 carries to go with his four receptions for 64 yards.
“The Brad Show: all summer long it was entertainment,” Benet coach Pat New said. “We just watched him run, we cheered, and it was just fun to watch. And he continues to entertain.”
On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Tsagalis weathered the bulk of the offense. He spent the majority of the first half in the shotgun, trying to punch holes in the Redwings’ defense.
Just before the end of the second half, he found success, connecting on a string of passes to put Notre Dame (1-2, 0-1) just outside of field-goal range with under a minute left in the second quarter. But Benet’s Andrew Valadka intercepted a pass in the red zone to halt the Dons and make it 13-0 heading into halftime.
During the second half, Tsagalis found a bit more success, closing 8-for-21 with an interception. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Benet’s 10 second-half points.
Marco Orlandi led the Dons on the ground, rushing for 23 yards on eight carries. He left in the third quarter with an injury, but came back onto the field midway through the fourth.
Neither Tsagalis nor Orlandi were able to give the Dons the start they needed. Through one half, Notre Dame had just over 50 yards of total offense. There were drives where the team showed its potential, Notre Dame coach Michael Hennessey said, but couldn’t sustain it for four quarters.
“We showed it right at the end of the half, we showed it right at the end of the third quarter,” Hennessey said. “You can’t just have flashes of brilliance in a game, because you know, it’s 48 minutes. You can establish what you want to do, but you have to be consistent with it.”
The Dons will try to rebound next week with a road game at Marist, while Benet will line up against St. Patrick at Benedictine University.