Brown, St. Rita too much for Benet

St. Rita sophomore running back Kaleb Brown will almost assuredly be playing on Saturdays after he graduates, and maybe even Sundays.

Benet got an up-close-and-personal look at that future Friday.

St. Rita finished with 295 total yards, with Brown accounting for 194 - 136 yards rushing on 30 carries and 4 receptions for another 54 yards.

Oh, and then there were those 3 second-half touchdowns that sank the Redwings 37-16 in the CCL/ESCC crossover football game. That sent the Redwings to a 6-2 record ahead of next week's showdown against defending Class 7A champion Nazareth (8-0).

"Things kind of really fell apart in the second half, which was really disappointing," Benet coach Pat New said. "I thought the offense didn't help out the defense with a couple of drive killers, gave them the ball deep in our territory and our defense couldn't hold."

And Brown?

"He's tremendous," New said. "He's a super-electric player, and I was really impressed by him."

Another guy who was impressive was Benet senior backup quarterback Michael O'Connor, who was thrust into the game in the second quarter when senior starter Colin Gillespie was injured on a tackle.

Two plays later, O'Connor coolly dropped back and found senior receiver Lucas Kosiba 33 yards away in the end zone. The extra point bounced off the upright, but still, Benet was down only 10-6.

After St. Rita's ensuing drive went nowhere, it was O'Connor again, this time orchestrating a little trickery. He handed off to junior Nick Bafia, who ran to his right, cocked back his arm and threw 55 yards to senior receiver Jonathan Martin. This time, Will Benish's kick was good, and Benet had a 13-10 lead heading into the half.

"With Colin being able to run as a quarterback, a good runner, he's susceptible to injuries, so I always have to be ready to come in at any point in the game and just do my job and get things done," O'Connor said.

But in the second half … well, the wheels came off, thanks to Brown's exploits.

Midway through the third quarter he scored a 2-yard touchdown, which gave St. Rita the lead for good.

After Benet's ensuing drive stalled, the Mustangs put together a 10-play drive that resulted in a 1-yard scoring run by Brown.

O'Connor was intercepted by St. Rita senior lineman Aiden Wilson on Benet's next possession, and the Mustangs marched down to the Benet 19. Coach Todd Kuska considered a field goal on fourth-and-7 but changed his mind, instead opting for a 19-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Tommy Ulatowski to - you guessed it - Brown.

"Just coming down the little things, we came out second half and put our foot on the gas and working on everything we did in practice, and perfecting it," Brown said. "That's all."

O'Connor completed 7 of 16 passes for 154 yards and both a touchdown and an interception. Senior wide receiver Luca Hall led the Redwings with 62 yards on 2 receptions.