The big question entering Fenwick’s season opener at Carmel Friday night was how would heralded senior quarterback Jack Beneventi, a transfer from Benet Academy, fare in his first start with the Friars. Actually, it looks like Fenwick may have found a 2-for-1 deal regarding the curiosity surrounding the 6-6 Iowa-bound Beneventi and his acclimation to a new offense. Not only did Beneventi play well (13-for-25, 151 yards, touchdown) but fellow senior Pat Donahue excelled with 123 yards rushing on 30 carries to power Fenwick past the host Corsairs 31-20.
The combination of Beneventi and Donahue plus a cadre of solid receivers must play well this season, especially considering the Friars’ losses of offensive threats like Gino Cavalieri, Robert Spillane, Ryan Smith and Rich Schoen to graduation last June.
Friday night appeared to be a good start for the new starting offensive personnel. In addition to Donahue, who finished with 146 all-purpose years, receivers John Showell (four catches, 55 yards) and Casey O’Laughlin (three catches, 28 yards) along with kicker Mike Cahill (39-yard field goal) added some offensive variety. Joe Buzinski caught an eight-yard touchdown pass and running back Adam Williams scored a rushing touchdown.
“Being around the team and the coaches in our pre-game routine really got me comfortable for the game,” Beneventi said. “The team was very welcoming right off the bat and [Fenwick coach Gene] Nudo is too. We’ve prepared so much for this season and I enjoyed getting ready with the team all summer.”
With the game tied at 7-7 in the second quarter, Beneventi connected on a pair of 25-yard passes, the first to senior receiver Aaron Garland, and the second to senior receiver Patrick Honan. Donahue capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run up the middle to give Fenwick the 14-7 lead with 8:26 to go till halftime.
“Our O-line was so good,” Donahue said. “Everyone said [the offensive line] would be our weakness, but they just did a phenomenal job. I couldn’t have done what I did in this game without them.”
As expected, The Friars’ defense looked good against Carmel. Linebacker Michael Krecek led the way with 12 tackles, a pass deflection and forced fumble.
“We were looking to play alignment assignment football,” Krecek said. “It all comes down to everyone doing their own responsibilities. On [Carmel’s] big plays, we got a little bit out of position and maybe missed an assignment or two. What’s important is that we all came together and we ended up getting back to stopping them.”
Garland added a key interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, extending the Friars’ advantage to 31-14. Harry Bell contributed six tackles and a sack. Other notable contributors on defense included Justin Rodriguez (three tackles, fumble recovery), Scott Stibich (six tackles) and Aiden Maloney (four tackles).
Sophomore running back Rondel Jamison rushed 14 times for 115 yards for the Corsairs, including a 45-yard touchdown run in the second half.
“This is a great Carmel team,” Fenwick head coach Gene Nudo said. “They’re going to give a lot of people trouble; they gave us some trouble tonight. I really believe we have a great defense, and now we have a foundation to build off of for the next game.”
The Friars host (Dallas) Bishop Lynch on Saturday, Sept. 6 at Concordia (1 p.m. kickoff). Before the game, there will be a community mass (10 a.m.) and tailgate party (10:30 a.m.), with both gatherings held at the Priory.
The Dominican priests who helped found and staff Bishop Lynch in 1963 came to Texas from Fenwick. Fenwick and Bishop Lynch share the same mascot, fight song, school colors, and of course, Dominican heritage. Last season, Fenwick defeated Bishop Lynch 32-14 in Dallas.