Armstrong: Waubonsie Valley finds another option in Zach Bennema

SHARE Armstrong: Waubonsie Valley finds another option in Zach Bennema
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Paul Murphy’s eyes light up like a mad scientist talking about his formulas when he begins discussing his beloved Waubonsie Valley option offense, especially after a big win like Friday’s 49-7 rout of Bartlett.

“Let ’em keep thinking they gotta stop (tailback Tony) Durns,” Murphy said. “We knew going in the guy that was gonna break this game open, if we were gonna break it open, was (Zach) Bennema.”

The speedy Durns, of course, is the No. 7 Warriors’ big-play guy out of the backfield.

“Every year we’ve played (Bartlett), we’ve run the (triple) option on them and they’ve always tried to take away the (fullback) dive (up the middle) and the pitch back (to the tailback),” Murphy said. “We’ve never had the quarterback who could burn ’em like Bennema did.”

The senior quarterback kept the ball after faking the dive handoff and had a run of 40 yards to set up his 2-yard touchdown run, then added scoring runs of 39 and 15 yards.

Bennema’s speed, of course, is a factor.

The 6-4, 210-pound senior “probably has 4.6 (seconds in the 40-yard dash)” Murphy said. “He’s one of those kids, once he gets kicked into gear, you aren’t gonna catch him.

“That’s what (Frank) Lenti looks for at Mount Carmel, a quarterback that can run.”

Bennema pointed to several factors that contribute to the success of the Warriors’ offense.

“As long as I make a good read, with our offense, that’s the biggest part of it,” Bennema said. “If you make a good read, you could be slow and get a couple yards on it. The speed helps. I think I’m probably about 4.6 or 4.7, but I feel like I’m a little faster on the field. And playing on (field) turf with no rain like we’ve had the first three weeks helps, too.

“But I think it’s definitely a surprise because we have so many options for (a defense) to take. It’s either me or Tony (Durns running) or (fullback Ryan) Berg on the dive. It’s worked well for us so far and that’s probably why we’re 4-0.”

And then, of course, there are the tweaks from Murphy.

“We put a wrinkle in that they didn’t expect because they were doing their ‘pinch and scrape,’” Murphy said, explaining the pinching of the defensive end in to stop the fullback dive while having a linebacker “scrape” off the defensive end in an effort to force the quarterbak to pitch back to the tailback.

“We were taking our tight end, who we normally arc to the safety (to seal the corner) and had him block the inside linebacker with him, and they weren’t expecting that. The minute they saw that, they knew that they’d been had.”

Successfully executed, it left Bennema with a lane to run.

Murphy acknowledged it’s an adjustment he’s picked up at clinics but never used before, “just kept it in the bag (of tricks).”

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