LISLE — They were in this spot a year ago and the Moline Maroons bounced back from a 28-14 loss to Benet Academy to win their next nine games. The question now is can they do it again?
The Maroons fell to Benet 28-19 on Friday at Benedictine University Field.
"It is always the case with young kids when they have something go bad," Moline coach Mike Morrissey said. "How will they react to it. They are down now because they really want to be successful. I think they will bounce back just fine."
Morrissey thought his team was its own worst enemy. The Maroons missed a couple great scoring chances, were hurt in one drive on a key fourth down penalty and they could not get stops against a strong Benet team which is now 2-0.
"The big thing after this is we have to learn from our mistakes," Morrissey said. "We have to be better at finishing and we have to be more focused, especially on the practice field."
The Maroons (1-1) got off to a great start thanks to three huge passes by Zidain Sterling. He hit Jayden Jackson for 13 yards on a third and long, hit Kaeden Dreifurst on a third and 18 to turn a fourth-down play into a makeable one and then hit Nate Johnson for eight and a first down.
On the next play, Jaheim Mitchell took a handoff on an inside reverse and went 30 yards for a TD with the Maroons taking the game's first 6:12 off the clock.
Benet Academy came right back and took the rest of the first quarter off the clock and scored on a 9-yard pass on the first play of the second quarter.
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Moline followed with another long drive, but had that end in Redwings territory. BA drove right back down the field and went up 14-6 on a 1-yard run by quarterback Colin Gillespie.
There was some bad with the good for Benet as Gillespie was injured on the score and could not finish the first half.
"He is really good," Morrissey said, "but the next guy came in and played really poised and was probably a better thrower."
Moline had another long drive deep into Benet but faced forth and long late in the half. Sterling lofted a pass toward the end zone, the Redwings defender stepped up to tip the pass away but had it sail over his hand an into the waiting hands of Johnson for a score that cut the lead to 14-13 at halftime.
Michael O'Connor, who took over for Gillespie at the end of the first half, played the rest of the way and got the Redwings back on the scoreboard early in the third with a beautiful deep post to tight end Jacob Snell for 44 yards to the Moline 5. One play later, O'Connor ran into the end zone to make it a 21-13 game.
Moline again came right back and cut the lead to 21-19 on an Aboubacar Barry (19 carries for 153 yards) went 32 yards for a score. And then got the ball back with a defensive stop late in the third quarter.
Barry went 58 yards to get the ball deep in Benet territory but the Redwings intercepted a pass on the first play of the fourth quarter and Benet answered again when O'Connor went untouched up the middle from the 1.
"We felt like we were right there in it and then (Barry) breaks off the big run," Morrissey said. "We needed to get the ball in the end zone, then instead of the stop us, get a interception and they score."