WILMINGTON — St. Elizabeth had its offense stymied by a pesky Conrad defense and some untimely penalties on their first two possessions, but the Vikings figured things out after that in a 45-6 win over the Red Wolves on a beautiful morning and afternoon for football on Sept. 10.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, St. Elizabeth relied on the firepower of seniors Chris Caracter and Quasim Benson for a significant portion of their offense. Benson, with his ability to make opponents miss, scored four touchdowns and added three two-point conversions, but big plays from his classmate helped set them up.
Conrad threatened first, forcing a Vikings punt and driving to the St. Elizabeth 15 before losing possession on a fumble. But the Vikings could not capitalize until their next drive near the end of the first.
Beginning at their own 47, Benson carried for three yards, followed by a sweep around right end by Caracter that went for 38 yards. Benson wrapped it up on the next play, covering the last 12 yards up the middle to get his team on the board with 58 seconds left in the first.
Conrad punted on the ensuing possession, and Benson returned it to the Red Wolves’ 39. Junior quarterback Cole Soto, making his first start at the position, passed to Gavin Andrews for nine on first down, and Benson did the rest, taking the ball 30 yards to the house and increasing the lead to 16-0.
The Red Wolves needed just 14 seconds to answer. Their one-play drive was a pass from Gabriel Welsh to Lennick Preston, who was wide open over the middle and went untouched for a touchdown.
But the Vikings responded. They completed a 60-yard drive with a third Benson scoring run, this one from three yards. The big play on the drive was the one before the touchdown. Facing a third and 11 from the Conrad 31, Caracter made a diving catch of a Soto pass to get the Vikings to the 3.
Benson’s final touchdown, with 1:39 left in the half, was a 20-yard rush around the left side. It was a 50-yard drive that also featured rushes by Andrews and Caracter.
Andrews scored twice in the third quarter, on runs of 9 and 27 yards.
St. Elizabeth (1-0) will visit Christiana on Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. The Red Wolves (0-1) stay home, taking on McKean at 11 a.m.
All photos by Jason Winchell.