Swider, Wheaton don't let Benedictine lead for long
Benedictine University didn't so much take the lead in the second quarter of Saturday night's nonconference football game so much as Wheaton College let the Eagles handle the lead for a few seconds just to see what it felt like.
Eighteen seconds, to be exact.
Just 18 seconds after Eagles running back Michael McNulty scored on a 10-yard run, and the ensuing extra point was blocked, Wheaton's Justin Swider (Wheaton North) returned the kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, putting the lead safely back in the Thunder's hands, where it stayed.
Wheaton (1-0) defeated Benedictine 48-27 in Lisle in the teams' season opener.
"Well, we couldn't stand prosperity, I tell you what. We gave up the kickoff return right away," Eagles coach Jon Cooper said.
"It was tiring," Swider said. "It was fun, though."
It wasn't just fun, it was the play that turned the momentum back to the Thunder for good.
"After they scored we needed somebody to step up and make a play, and it just happened to be me there," said Swider, son of Wheaton coach Mike Swider. "But it definitely wasn't all me. It was the kickoff return team as a whole."
The Eagles compounded one mistake with another just before halftime, fumbling the ball away on their own 31-yard line with 2:43 left on the clock. Four plays later quarterback Jordan Roberts (Aurora Christian) scored on a 3-yard keeper for a 24-13 Wheaton lead going into halftime.
"Killed us," Cooper said. "Killed us. Just killed us. If we drive the field we get the first down there, or even if we punt they don't score."
Even when Benedictine did score, Wheaton had an answer.
"Yes, they did," Cooper said. "And that's what good teams do. That's what 15th-ranked teams in the country do. And we're trying to get to that level."
To get to that level, they'll have to have an offense powerful enough to put up 48 points like Wheaton's did.
"It's great to see 48 points, especially the first game with a new offensive coordinator (Josiah Sears),"said Swider, a senior running back. "We've got a few things to work on, but any time you score 48 points, it's a good day."
Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz
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