After two consecutive trips to the class 7A state semi finals in 2016 and 2017, Benet Academy football saw its 2018 campaign come to an end in heartbreaking fashion. A failed two point conversion in the final minute against Maine West meant a first round playoff exit for the Redwings, leaving the returning players eager to get back on the gridiron for a fresh start.
While change is a part of every new football season, the Redwings and head coach Pat New are fortunate to have a returning starter Colin Gillespie back under center for his senior year.
Gillespie provides a serious challenge for opposing defenses thanks to his ability to move the ball through the air and with his legs, racking up over 1400 yards passing and nearly 350 yards on the ground.
Despite the loss of leading rusher Ben Hickey, the Redwings will use a stable of running back to carry the load in the backfield.
On the other side of the ball, coach New and defensive coordinator Tim Cederblad will switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense to utilize the teams athleticism in the front 7.
When the Redwings have played at their best in recent years, the defense has carried more than its share of the weight by forcing turnovers in key situations and putting intense pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Senior defensive lineman Jacob Snell is excited to lead his group by creating havoc all over the field.
While Benet knows what players will be taking the field when the season opens on August 30th, a new football conference presents feelings of uncertainty and excitement after the merger of the East Suburban Catholic Conference and the Chicago Catholic League to create a six division, 24 team mega conference. The Redwings join the ESCC/CCL Orange division along with Nazareth, St. Laurence, and De La Salle.
In addition to an already challenging slate of games that features two defending state champions in Nazareth and Loyola, Benet will also renew a crosstown rivalry with Naperville North, that had remained dormant for over 30 years.
2019 offers the opportunity for Benet Academy to turn the page on last year’s heartbreak and begin the journey for what hopes to be another long post season run.
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