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Benet Defeats Oswego East in Opener

September 6, 2010
Benet Academy Football

August 28, 2010 

LISLE — The Oswego East football team, winless last season, will have to wait at least one more week to break its losing streak.

Benet Academy, which handed the Wolves their first loss last season, extended Oswego East's overall losing streak to 13 games with a 34-0 thrashing Friday night at Benedictine University.

"They out-physicalled us, both sides of the ball," Wolves' head coach Mark Green said. "They controlled the tempo up front and it took us a while to match that. Once our kids got used to the speed and got used to varsity football, it was a more even playing field."

By that point, the Redwings had a 27-0 halftime lead on the legs of senior tailback E.J. Howe and the versatile play of junior quarterback Nick Mankowski.

It also made for a stellar start for first-year Benet coach Pat New.

"I've been nervous since yesterday morning," New said. "It's great to get that first one out of the way with a victory."

Howe carried 13 times for 78 yards in the first half and scored Benet's first touchdown of the year with an 8-yard scamper to the right pylon just 2:35 into the game.

The 5-foot-6, 146 pound running back showed size was no matter, blending speed and power into a solid rushing performance.

"Our line did a very good job blocking and our running backs did a good job running the ball," Mankowski said. "They did what they needed to do to set up the pass and open up bootlegs."

Mankowski, who beat out senior T.J. Rickert in preseason in large part because of his mobility, completed 14 of 19 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed eight times for 62 yards and two scores in three quarters for the Redwings (1-0).

"He's got to work on his accuracy a little bit, but he's in this position because of his feet and he showed that tonight with his scrambling ability," New said.

The 5-foot-11, 175 pound Mankowski connected with senior wide receiver Connor Nelligan (50 yards receiving, two touchdowns) on a 20-yard fade to the right corner for his first passing touchdown with a few minutes left in the first quarter.

When things broke down in the pocket, Mankowski used his escapability to break long runs, including a 10-yard touchdown after a bobbled snap with 31 seconds left before half.

"I knew if nothing was there right away, coaches told me to use my feet to get yardage," Mankowski said. "Don't force anything and that's what I tried to do my first time out."

Oswego East (0-1), meanwhile, struggled mightily despite returning several senior starters from last year's squad.

At half, the Wolves had only one positive yardage offensive play and zero yards of total offense.

Wolves' junior quarterback Dakoda Skenandore struggled to a 5 of 20 passing performance (54 yards) and the rushing game was non-existent outside of senior Oliver Graham (nine carries, 77 yards) — virtually all coming on one drive late in the fourth quarter.

"We've got to be ready from the first whistle to the last whistle," Green said. "We'll do that, we'll get better. I think we grew up a little tonight as a team."

Oswego East will look to rebound next week at home against Larkin, while Benet will travel to Marian Central.

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