The Comets quarterback Jake Benzing completes a 41-yard pass to lead the Comets comeback against Badger on Friday. (Tanner Fields photo)

The Comets quarterback Jake Benzing completes a 41-yard pass to lead the Comets comeback against Badger on Friday. (Tanner Fields photo)

By Kevin Cunningham

Correspondent

Having a great offense while being protected by a strong defense is a recipe for success in the game of football. For Delavan-Darien High School, the team has been accompanied by both aspects of the game, scoring at least 35 points in its last three games while allowing 20 points or less in three of its first four games.

On Friday against Badger, however, the team’s offense was held to just seven points and penalties were what killed the Comets, according to head coach Bret St. Arnauld. He talked about being able to move the ball, but that possessions concluded earlier than they should have because of the penalties.

“Honestly, they had a good game plan for the most part,” he said. “But, I have to be honest with you, We put up basically 300 yards of offense, but penalties really killed us. Almost every time we got the ball, we would drive, but a penalty would stall our drive. It would come in bunches. We’d be on Badger’s 30 [yard line] and all of a sudden we would be past midfield again.

“We had a touchdown called back. We scored and then a penalty called it back. It wasn’t like we couldn’t move the ball.”

Badger entered the game undefeated at 4-0 while the Comets were at 3-1. After just the seven points were scored, the defense couldn’t contain Badger throughout the game, eventually losing, 14-7. Badger, a Division 1 school that’s ranked as the No. 10 team in the state, scored just two field goals and one touchdown against the Comets’ defense.

The one touchdown they scored came late in the fourth quarter after a blocked punt. Had the Comets gotten the punt off successfully, St. Arnauld said he thought his team would have won the game because of the outstanding job they were doing defensively. The Comets owned a 7-6 lead with just three minutes remaining in the game.

Offensively, quarterback Jacob Benzing completed less than 50 percent of his passes but still threw a 41-yard touchdown to Ben Ingersoll, while rushing for 75 yards as well. St. Arnauld broke down the Comets’ lone touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

“Jake kind of broke out of the pocket and he rolled out, acted like he was going to run, and then the corner came up and Ben went down field, then Jake hit him in stride and Ben took it the rest of the way,” St. Arnauld said. “It was kind of a broken play but both Jake and Ben made good plays.”

Defensively, the Comets’ third-year head coach was happy about how they had played. To a team as strong as Badger’s, to allow just one touchdown thanks in large part to a blocked punt, St. Arnauld applauded his team’s effort.

“I felt like our game plan was strong going in,” he said. “But honestly I feel like there’s nothing else we could have done to win the game. We put ourselves in the right position, but it’s just unfortunate that we didn’t come out on the winning end. Every week defensively, we try and take away their best players and I felt like we’ve done that in every game this season.

“I mean, Lodi is averaging over 40 points per game this season outside of us and they got a pick-six on us and so they only scored three on us. Lake Geneva was averaging over 28 a game going into this one.”

The 14-7 defeat is another single possession defeat for St. Arnauld’s team. The Comets are 3-2 so far in 2016 and its two combined losses total 11 points. The team’s next contest, on Sept. 23, comes on the road against Burlington for their homecoming game.

“Defensively, [Burlington] isn’t going to fool you,” St. Arnauld said. “I think what’s going to be the key is the defense being able to turn the ball over while the offense stresses ball security. I think if we limit our penalties, don’t turn over the ball and the defense doesn’t make silly mistakes, I like our chances this Friday.

“The last two years now they’ve beat us in the final seconds. It’s left a sour taste in our mouths over the last couple years. We’re out to get ours and it’s a big game for us. We need it. Right now, I would mark this as the most important game of the year.”

 

 
 

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