By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
The Belvidere Bucs had hoped to respond strongly after being beaten badly by Rockton Hononegah the week before. The Machesney Park Harlem Huskies were looking to make a statement.
The Huskies (3-1) made their statement, getting five touchdowns from running back Brenton Benedict on their way to a 44-7 win over the Bucs (2-2) Friday, Sept. 16.
“He had an outstanding game,” Harlem Coach Jim Morrow said. “We had to slow him down because his motor was running pretty hot by the beginning of the third quarter. He’s an outstanding tailback.”
Benedict, a senior, missed all of last season because of a knee injury. Morrow said his comeback and the impact he has made is helping the team reach new levels.
“I feel great for him to have a night like this,” Morrow said. “As a junior, he was out all year with a knee injury. To have him come back and have a great senior year like he is having is unbelievable.”
In all, Benedict ran for 145 yards to go with another 77 yards receiving. He kicked off the scoring with a 3-yard run on the opening drive, and later had runs of 52 and 55 yards untouched on his way to the end zone.
“The offensive line really helped me out,” Benedict said. “If it weren’t for the receivers, we wouldn’t be able to spread out the defense so much and create the holes up the middle. The offensive line just made a huge hole. There was nobody up the middle of the field. I just ran straight and didn’t have to make anyone miss.”
It was all part of an unstoppable night for the Huskies’ offense. In addition to Benedict, quarterback Cody DiGiovanni threw for 154 yards, and Kevin Witcik ran for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Even more impressive was the Harlem defense. Led by linebackers Tom Tammen and Aaron Harwick, the Huskies’ defense stifled the Belvidere running game, holding them to 48 rushing yards and forcing them to be a one-dimensional passing team.
Belvidere did score a touchdown late in the first half on a 26-yard touchdown pass by Troy Vandenbroek to Reed Greiter. Vandenbroek finished with 134 passing yards.
The Huskies still have big matchups with Guilford, Jefferson and Hononegah left this season. While Harlem has looked impressive since losing to Boylan, Morrow realizes there are still issues that need to be cleared up.
“There is [sic] still mistakes to be cleaned up, we need consistency,” he said. “We have to come out and consistently play at a high level.”
In other NIC-10 action:
• Rockford Jefferson (2-2) got 126 yards and two touchdowns from Josh Woodford, part of almost 400 total rushing yards, on their way to a big win over Rockford East (1-3). Andrew Lantz threw for 166 yards and a touchdown for East, but the J-Hawks were able to hold down the E-Rabs’ attack for much of the night. Tyler Williams also ran for 96 yards for Jefferson.
• Belvidere North (2-2) got their most complete offensive performance of the season, but still needed a late field goal to top Rockford Guilford (2-2) by a score of 31-28. Austin Smaha ran for 151 yards and two scores, while quarterback Justin Ellingson threw for 125 yards and ran for another 89 yards. Dontrel Chance led the Vikings with 193 yards, while Justin Carroll also ran for 158 yards.
• Carlos Hendrix had another 120 yards of offense while leading Rockton Hononegah (3-1) to another big win, this time defeating Rockford Auburn (0-4) by a final of 48-8. Quan Herron ran for 72 yards, and Phil Tremmell threw for 76 yards to lead Auburn.
• Boylan (4-0) gave one of the most impressive offensive displays in recent memory, scoring 43 first-quarter points against Freeport (1-3) on their way to a 59-0 victory.
From the Sept. 21-27, 2011, issue