The Wheaton Warrenville South title defense is off to a flying start.
In an IHSA Class 7A first-round playoff football game on Friday night in Wheaton, the host Tigers were as inhospitable as ever to its last victim: Benet.
WW South scored on all five of its first-half possessions, and lineman William Davis added a fumble return to initiate a running clock for the final two quarters in the Tigers' 49-7 victory over the Redwings.
Wheaton Warrenville South (10-0) captured its 22nd consecutive victory; the top seed and defending state champion earned a crosstown rematch with conference rival Wheaton North, which denied Marian Catholic 27-6.
Benet had its season close at 5-5.
The Tigers were effective offensively, resilient on defense and Matt Rogers' 23-yard burst on the opening play from scrimmage set the tone.
Reilly O'Toole, the Tigers' Illinois-bound quarterback, needed only three minutes to produce the first of the six first-half touchdowns.
"Reilly does a great job of opening up the field with the passing game," said Rogers, who collected 119 yards in 16 carries with a pair of scores. "With the way the offensive line blocks, it was easy for me to get those runs."
Benet, meanwhile, was limited to 10 yards through the air; the Redwings attempted three fake punts in the opening two quarters.
"We had to roll out all the stops against this team,' Benet coach Pat New said.
Connor Nelligan was successful on the Redwings' first fake, but the Tigers' defense stopped the other two attempts with predictable results ensuing
Travis Kern hauled in two touchdown strikes from O'Toole, who finished the game 10-for-12 for 143 yards and three scores.
With Rogers and Kern producing twin scores in the Tigers' first four possessions, the Tigers' cushion was 28-0.
"We knew (the Benet) defense was a blitzing defense," Kern said. "We prepared for everything this week (in practice)."
Williams vanquished any hope Benet retained late in the second quarter when the defensive end rumbled 26 yards with a Redwings' fumble to make it a five-score lead.
"Someone caused the fumble," Williams said. "I'm not sure who it was."
Ryan Graham closed out the Tigers' scoring from two different positions; the sophomore hauled in a 32-yard strike from O'Toole late in the second and capped the Tigers' lone second-half possession with an 8-yard quarterback keeper.
Pat Boyle had the Redwings' sole touchdown when he culminated a 12-play drive to open the second half with a fourth-down plunge from a yard out.
The only other Benet second-half possession ended with BJ Howe being tackled deep in South territory as time expired.
Howe led both teams' rushers with 123 yards on 19 carries.
"(The Tigers) rarely, if ever, make mistakes," New said. "They're a great football program."