Waubonsie Valley’s Zack Bennema and Tony Durns grind out a victory

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With Friday’s gloomy forecast, the formula was quite simple for Zack Bennema and Tony Durns.

Utilizing their collective legs as opposed to Bennema’s right arm, Bennema and Durns led the way as No. 9 Waubonsie Valley posted a 49-6 Upstate Eight Valley win over East Aurora at Dick Kerner Stadium in Aurora.

Off to its second 3-0 start in the last three seasons, Waubonsie Valley (3-0, 1-0), the senior duo of Bennema and Durns combined for 249 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

A 21-point first quarter was all the Warriors needed.

Bennema led the Warriors’ offense on a 12-play, 65-yard scoring drive on the first drive of the game — a drive he punctuated with a 7-yard TD run.

While the weather and field conditions necessitated relying on the running game, Bennema’s first pass — a 37-yard touchdown strike to Keaton Casey — gave coach Paul Murphy’s team a quick 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.

After connecting with Casey for the 37-yard TD, and with the Warriors recovering a Nigel Williams fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Bennema took matters into his own hands on the very next play from scrimmage in going left for a 19-yard score and a 21-0 Warriors’ lead with 19 seconds left on the first-quarter clock.

“It was really big to get out to a 21-0 lead. Scored on our first three drives and that’s exactly what we want to do,” said Bennema, who ran for 55 yards and two TDs. “We want to start quick because with teams like (East Aurora) — they’re very good and you don’t want them to have (confidence) and hang around with you. So it was good to get out to a quick start and get those three scores.”

Meanwhile, Durns ran for a pair of long third-quarter TD runs of 36 and 44 yards, respectively, to highlight a 194-yard game on 22 carries. Rodney Gee added a 12-yard TD run to put up the running clock late in the third.

“I want to thank my offensive line. They open up the holes for me. My receivers on the outside help me out a lot, so I want to thank them first because of that,” Durns said. “We’re just going to set the tempo, just so we can get our (backups) for the game and that was about it.”

Nate Booker had a 77-yard touchdown run late in the fourth for East Aurora (0-3, 0-1) to avoid the shutout.

Despite the inclement weather and the lopsided result on the scoreboard, Tomcats coach Kurt Becker was proud of his team.

“Our kids, you know, they competed. They competed and they hung in there. I’m very, very proud of what they did (Friday) night,” he said. “So the score isn’t an indication of what happened, of where we came from and where we’re going.”

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