Wheaton College running back Peter Jarrett saw enough of the Thunder defense Thursday night to know how to describe his friends on the other side of the ball: "stifling," he said.
The offense couldn't be stifled when it took the field also in a 48-7 nonconference victory against visiting Benedictine in the team's season opener.
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"It was a lot of fun tonight," the senior from Wheaton Warrenville South said with a big smile on his face.
Benedictine, which won the Northern Athletics Conference title the last two years, played a lesser team last year and won, but Eagles coach Jon Cooper said it hurt his team the next two weeks.
"The hope is that this actually helps us for the next two weeks," he said.
The Thunder, however, will take the boost to its confidence and momentum that Thursday's game offered.
"It's good to get a game like this to get some confidence and do some things," Wheaton coach Mike Swider said.
The Thunder offense started quickly. Jarrett scored from 8 yards out just 3½ minutes into the game.
"It's easy to do it with those big guys in front of me and the fullback, Jesse Geary, clearing the way," Jarrett said. "I don't think I even got touched on those touchdowns. They make it easy, make my job a lot easier, make me look a lot better than I actually am."
The Thunder then turned to wideout Mark Hiben (Glenbard West), who scored on passes of 3 and 23 yards from quarterback Garrett Meador. Another Jarrett 8-yard touchdown run gave the Thunder a 27-0 halftime lead.
"He's a good player," Swider said of Hiben, who caught 7 passes for 72 yards. "Let's face it, he's a good player. We've got some backs who can run too. It's not like we're short of running backs. We've got multiple receivers. We've got three good quarterbacks. We've got some weapons on offense, we really do."
Cooper was convinced.
"We're missing some kids, and in the secondary in particular we're missing a guy, and it affects you when that happens," Cooper said. "At times we made some plays, but we're playing against a great offense. It's probably one of the better offenses in the country."
The second half it was quarterback Jordan Roberts' turn to throw scoring passes, hitting Morgan Cook for 33 yards, James Houck for 2 yards and younger brother Grayson Roberts (Aurora Christian) for 11.
Meanwhile, that stifling Thunder defense held Benedictine scoreless until the final minute, when quarterback Cyle Schultz snuck in on a fourth-and-goal play from the 4.
"We have a new quarterback playing who hasn't practiced much and he's trying to learn how to play with his receivers," Cooper said. "...We're trying to assimilate him into the offense right now. We did some good things, shot ourselves in the foot in the first half. In the second half we really didn't play very well. We didn't move the ball very well at all in the second half."