Resurgent Benet another challenge for Joliet Catholic
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org October 18, 2012 7:42PM
Updated: November 20, 2012 10:53AM
The season may not have gone quite the way No. 4 Joliet Catholic imagined, but the playoff-bound Hilltoppers can make a statement in Week 9.
Coach Dan Sharp’s team (5-3, 4-2) entertains another quality East Suburban Catholic foe at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Benet (7-1, 4-1) visits ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium in the Herald-News Season Pass Spotlight Game on HighSchoolCube.com.
The Redwings, who went 1-8 in 2011, knocked off ESCC leader Marist 34-24 last week. But Sharp said there is nothing surprising about their resurgence.
“This is a good opportunity for us because they are one of the top teams in the state,” Sharp said. “We saw how they were up and coming with the success this senior class had as freshmen and sophomores. (Coach) Pat New has established a great system. They could be very dangerous in the 7A playoffs.”
New, the former Benet and Northwestern wide receiver, “runs the Northwestern system and runs it very well,” Sharp said.
Quarterback Jack Beneventi and running back Porter Ontko lead the Benet offense, and the Redwings are strong defensively, holding five opponents to a touchdown or less.
“Their quarterback (Beneventi) reminds me of our guy (Craig Slowik) — tall and with a strong arm,” Sharp said.
Joliet Catholic will look more like Joliet Catholic with the return of wingback Tyler Reitz, who missed the previous two games with injury. Wingback Ty Isaac is a game-time decision, but otherwise, the health news is relatively good.
“We’re getting back to pretty good health,” Sharp said. “Obviously, we would like to win this game. We have a chance to upset a very good team, and it’s the last regular-season home game for our seniors.
“The loss last week to Notre Dame (42-33 despite Mike Ivlow’s 211 yards rushing) was a heartbreaker. We can’t win conference anymore. But we still have a chance to win state, and all our focus is toward that.”