Randy Speer, The Circuit
Benedictine finished its non-conference schedule with a 31-14 win over Central Methodist.
The No. 23-ranked Ravens (4-2) grabbed an early lead when junior Jacob Koester found senior Christian Haack from nine yards out. The drive had stalled out, but a pass interference call in the end zone by the Eagles (2-4) gave the Ravens new life.
Benedictine had an opportunity to score again after an interception by Chandler Stacy on the first offensive drive by Central Methodist, but freshman Andrew Zubia’s kick was blocked.
The Ravens forced a punt on the next Eagles drive, resulting in a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Tyler Henness.
The senior running back notched his second 100-yard rushing game of the season with a 148-yard effort on 23 carries. Henness had been denied the century mark the previous three games.
“I knew Tyler was due for a big game,” Koester said. “It was good to get him going.”
Koester connected with Haack for the duo’s second score of the evening to give the Ravens three unanswered touchdowns.
The Ravens were primed to take a shutout into the half, but sophomore Caleb Bedford found Keenan Honroe with four seconds remaining in the half to cut the lead to 21-7.
Coming out of the half, Central Methodist appeared to have cut the lead to one score following an interception by Brandon Justin that was returned for a touchdown. The play was called back after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Eagles during the play.
“I knew that I made a mistake, and I’m lucky that one got called back,” Koester said. “My mindset was just to wipe it, and get back at it.”
Koester used his second chance to find junior Nate Nickolson in the back of the end zone with 4:42 left in the third quarter.
The junior quarterback finished 22 of 36 for 207 yards and three touchdowns.
Staley grabbed his second interception of the game to set the Ravens’ offense up in Central Methodist territory. The Eagles’ defense managed to keep Benedictine to field goal following pick. Zubia knocked in the 30 yard attempt to put the Ravens up 31-7 with 13:29 left in the fourth.
Central Methodist responded two minutes later with another Bedford touchdown. This time he found Adam Weiland in the flat to cut the lead to 17. The drive was set up by a Jamall Williams reception for 74 yards.
The game took a turn for the defense in the remaining 11 minutes. Niether team could get anything going offensively. The teams traded punts until Central Methodist worked down the field in the waning minutes of the game.
The Eagles looked primed to score after another long Williams reception — this time for 43 yards — set them up on the 1-yard line.
Bedford tried to sneak it in on the following play, but the ball was forced out before he crossed the goal line. Senior Dre Graves recovered the fumble in the end zone to end the Eagles’ scoring threat.
Benedictine takes on Culver-Stockton at home in their homecoming game at 11 p.m. on Oct. 10. The will be streamed on ESPN3 and broadcasted on local channels.