RIVER FOREST — Fenwick’s defense was on a mission Saturday to contain standout running back Rawleigh Williams III of Bishop Lynch from Dallas. It almost succeeded.
After making a few adjustments to its scheme at halftime, Fenwick limited Williams to 52 yards in the second half until the Arkansas-bound rusher had the final say with a 46-yard touchdown run with 1 minute, 23 seconds remaining to give Bishop Lynch the victory.
In the second annual battle between Dominican sister schools, Bishop Lynch rallied to defeat Fenwick 35-32 at Concordia University in River Forest.
Fenwick won 32-14 in last year’s meeting in Dallas. Fenwick priests co-founded Bishop Lynch in 1963 and the two schools share the same nickname, school colors and fight song.
Williams, who did not play in last year’s game due to an injury, scored the winning points to end a five-play, 86-yard drive that lasted 1:06. He nearly fumbled after breaking through a pack at the line, but managed to regain control of the ball while outrunning a defensive back. Tristan Smith connected with Joseph Gannon on a two-point conversion.
Williams’ touchdown came moments after Fenwick (1-1) took a 32-27 lead on quarterback Jack Beneventi’s nine-yard touchdown pass to Pat Donahue.
Already With three returning starters from its four-man defensive front, Fenwick added another rotating defensive lineman to try to limit Williams in the first half. But Williams (30 carries, 192 yards, two TDs) ran 16 times for 92 yards in the first half and scored on a one-yard run to put Bishop Lynch (2-0) ahead 14-0 early in the second quarter.
“We knew what to expect coming in,” Williams said. “I had a good game (206 yards, four first-half TDs) last week. They thought they would put a lot of guys in the box, and they did.”
Seniors Chris Hawthorne, Harry Bell and Justin Rodriguez are the returning defensive linemen with newcomer Brian O’Neil, a senior. Fenwick’s extra lineman was usually linebacker John Doherty in the first half.
“We really worked on filling all the holes defensively in the first half,” Bell said. “They found the openings and went in between them. Our linebackers were filling the holes better in the second half.”
Bell said Fenwick used seven to eight players in the box against Williams.
In the second half, Fenwick returned to its standard four-man defensive front. But with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter, Smith raced 72 yards on a quarterback keeper to give Bishop Lynch a 27-20 lead.
“[Williams’ last TD] was heart-breaking,” Hawthorne said. “Having that carry and them taking it to the house after we worked all week. We had to stop him going to the house. You feel like one or two plays will change the game.”
Bishop Lynch gained 266 of its 431 total yards on the ground.
“[Willams] is a tough back to hold down,” Fenwick coach Gene Nudo said. “Obviously, that quarterback rush [hurt]. They ran a lot. We’re supposed to be a good defense, but at times we didn’t look like it today.”
- Senior running back Pat Donahue led Fenwick with 22 carries for 100 yards and a TD. Donahue (five catches, 49 yards) caught two TD passes each for nine yards.
- Beneventi threw three TD passes but completed 10-of-29 passes for 131 yards and ended the first half by throwing an interception near the goal line.