Benet needed someone to step up and make a big play.
Defensive backs Jack Brown and Mac Cooney answered the call.
Brown deflected St. Patrick quarterback Zach Fuller’s pass into the hands of Cooney, who raced into the end zone to break a 7-7 tie in the third quarter.
The host Redwings never looked back, winning Friday’s East Suburban Catholic Conference game 28-7.
“Fortunately, these guys were able to pull it out and find a way,” Benet coach Pat New said.
Benet (4-0, 2-0) saw its fortunes change after Cooney put the Redwings ahead for good on his pick-six with 1:02 remaining in the third quarter.
“We had no energy before that,” Cooney said. “Finally when that happened our sideline was jumping up and down and just happy. It started to become fun again and wasn’t a chore anymore.”
St. Patrick (2-2, 0-2) drove down to the Benet 31-yard line on its first drive of the second half, but couldn’t convert a crucial fourth down. Benet, on the other hand, converted three fourth-down plays that ultimately kept two of its scoring drives alive.
“It was a tough one to lose. They make that one big play and it turned the whole momentum against us,” St. Patrick coach Dan Galante said. “Every game in this conference is going to be tough though, so we have to regroup and get better for the next one.”
Fuller’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Devlin late in the first half accounted for the only score by the Shamrocks.
The Redwings have relied heavily on senior running back Brad Sznajder this season and while he once again made major contributions with 21 carries for 86 yards and a TD, it was nothing like last week when he rushed for nearly 300.
Their attack featured more passing from sophomore quarterback Jack Sznajder (16-for-22, 224 yards, 2 TDs) as the Redwings scored 21 unanswered points in the second half.
“We talked about how we can’t be so one-dimensional,” New said. “What I was really pleased to see was how we spread it around a little bit. We got the ball to one of our other running backs and Jack threw the ball well.”
Jack Sznajder had only thrown one TD coming into the game. Karl Schmidt (seven catches, 72 yards) and Colin Brahler (two catches, 87 yards) were his primary targets. Brahler had an 82-yard TD reception, while Charlie Sandor caught a 6-yarder.
“We knew they’d be really prepared for Brad (Sznajder) so that opened up opportunities for me and my receivers,” Jack Sznajder said. “We’ll be looking for more of that throughout the season.”