St. Joseph Catholic School senior Trey Benson did not want his high school career to end Friday night, and in the second half he and his teammates made the plays to make sure it continued.
Benson and his Irish trailed by two points at halftime but stormed back in the final two quarters to defeat Central Holmes Christian 42-21 in the quarterfinals of the MAIS Class 3A State Championship.
Benson’s teammate, Dillon Johnson, got things rolling for the Irish in the third quarter when he tightroped down the sideline, though a number of Trojan defenders, for a 68-yard score.
Then, St. Joseph quarterback Mekhi Norris completed a 16-yard pass to senior Rhoderick Gentry Jr. to put the Irish up for good, 28-21, with 13 ticks left in the third quarter.
“During halftime, I was thinking that I just don’t want my season to end,” Benson said. “We have worked to hard for it to end now.”
Benson finished with 203 yards rushing.
The Fighting Irish (11-0) will host Carroll Academy next Friday night in the semifinals of the state championship. The championship game is scheduled for Nov. 22 at Jackson Academy.
St. Joseph coach John Baker said he was pleased with how his team came out in the second half.
“We were sleep walking through the first half, but in the second half we came out a lot stronger and we fixed our blocking.”
Norris and Gentry each made a big defensive play in the second half. With nine minutes left in the game, Gentry recovered a Central Holmes’ fumble inside of his own endzone. Then, with six minutes left in the game, Norris intercepted a deep ball with his back turned towards the quarterback.
“We were able to get this win because we never gave up on each other,” Morris said. “Now, we can still accomplish all of our goals.”