Fenwick coach Gene Nudo warned after a Week 2 loss to Bishop Lynch of Dallas that new quarterback Jack Beneventi was still learning the offense. Consider that done after Saturday’s victory over De La Salle to open the Catholic League Green season.
Beneventi threw for a career-high five touchdowns in his third game as a Friar, completing 15 of 24 passes after a slow start in the first quarter. He threw fives passes for a total of minus-1 yard in the first 12 minutes. But Beneventi later pulled off a couple of big passes as the Friars beat the Meteors 35-30 at Concordia University.
The Iowa-bound Beneventi, a 6-6, 210-pound senior transfer from Benet, attributed his success to more one-on-one time studying video with Nudo, a former coach and general manager with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena League. Nudo also led undefeated Driscoll to its first state championship in 1991.
One day after the Bishop Lynch loss, Beneventi and Nudo watched the game tape. In the 35-32 loss, Beneventi threw three touchdowns, but looked erratic by completing only 10 of 29 passes with one interception. He finished that game with incomplete passes in five of his last six attempts.
“Nudo gets on you. He gets on you to motivate you. He does a good job of that,” Beneventi said. “That Sunday we watched film to help make me feel comfortable with the offense. Today, the wide receivers were making great cuts, especially on post [patterns].”
Beneventi said much of the focus with Nudo’s video sessions is understanding pre-snap reads of what kind of defense the opposition is using. Everything is new for Beneventi. In Nudo’s offense, Beneventi is rarely in the shotgun and takes almost all of his snaps under center in the pro-stye offense.
So far, Beneventi’s favorite target is running back Pat Donahue (four catches, 87 yards), who caught TD passes of eight and 73 yards for the Friars (2-1, 1-0). Donahue had five catches for 49 yards against Bishop Lynch.
Beneventi’s 75-yard TD pass to Franklin Taylor to open the second quarter against De La Salle (1-2, 0-1) started a run of eight completions in 10 attempts in the second quarter. The play was the longest score from scrimmage for the Friars this season.
“You know quarterbacks are a different breed,” Nudo said. “I hold Jack at a high level. Some of his balls [thrown today] were as good as you’ll ever see.”
The best catch of the day by Fenwick belonged to senior Joe Buzinski (three catches, 41 yards, two TDs), who caught a 31-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter with a defensive back draped all over him. The pass interference penalty was declined and Fenwick led 35-24 with 7:48 remaining.
“It shows what we can do when me, Jack and Franklin start clicking,” Buzinski said. “Things get open. We are bound to score.”
De La Salle quarterback Tom Duddleston put on a show of his own with the no-huddle spread, completing 24 of 47 passes for 336 yards and three TDs. Duddleston connected with Drew Chavarria on TD passes of 72 and 17 yards.
One of the Meteors’ touchdowns was a wide-receiver option pass when Duddleston lateraled to Bryce Sutherland, who hit Ronald Seals with a 39-yard pass for a TD.
“We like to catch defenses off guard,” Duddleston said. “We’ll catch them sleeping a little bit. We’re like a little bit of a long car ride. We get them to sleep and them get them to go again.”