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High School Sports

Perfect: Veritas claims state football title

Veritas Eagle player Ethan Scott (28) tackling at right, forces a fumble on a St. Mary's Academy player during the Veritas Eagles' state championship game against St. MaryÕs Academy, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010.

Veritas Eagle player Ethan Scott (28) tackling at right, forces a fumble on a St. Mary's Academy player during the Veritas Eagles' state championship game against St. MaryÕs Academy, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010.

November 7, 2010

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Nate Scott (23) can't quite haul in a pass in the first half of the Veritas Eagles' state championship game against St. Mary's Academy, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010.

Nate Scott (23) can't quite haul in a pass in the first half of the Veritas Eagles' state championship game against St. Mary's Academy, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010.

After making a reception for Veritas, Nate Scott (23) runs up field during the state championship game against St. Mary's Academy, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010.

After making a reception for Veritas, Nate Scott (23) runs up field during the state championship game against St. Mary's Academy, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010.

Ethan Scott (28) scrambles for a first half touchdown during the Veritas Eagles' state championship game against St. MaryÕs Academy, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010.

Ethan Scott (28) scrambles for a first half touchdown during the Veritas Eagles' state championship game against St. MaryÕs Academy, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010.

Before Saturday’s state championship game, Veritas Christian School football coach Doug Bennett decided that, win or lose, he was going to write a quotation on the board after the game.

It’s from former Kansas City Chiefs football coach Dick Vermeil: “If you don't invest very much, then defeat doesn't hurt very much and winning is not very exciting.”

After the Eagles completed a perfect season with a 46-30 victory against St. Mary’s Academy at the Eagles Nest, Bennett said his team’s investment in offseason workouts — weights, summer camps and team camp — paid huge benefits.

“It’s a great feeling when you invest so much time,” Bennett said.

The Eagles (10-0) won their first Kansas Christian Athletic Association state football championship thanks in large part to jumping out to a big lead on the Crusaders. Veritas scored in less than three plays on its first three drives, taking a 22-0 lead with 6:49 remaining in the first quarter.

Junior quarterback Nick Bennett said he expected to take an early lead considering how much the strong winds would affect St. Mary’s pass-heavy offense.

Veritas won the opening coin flip, and instead of choosing to receive the ball to open the game, Bennett sent his kickoff team out with the wind at its back.

St. Mary’s moved the ball just 14 yards in its first three drives, none of which came through the air.

“We knew where they had the best chance of beating us was through the air, so we figured if we put the wind in their face for at least the first quarter, we can kind of set the tone,” Bennett said. “It was just kind of clock-management after that first quarter.”

“Without that start, we may not have won that game,” senior Ethan Scott said. “It gave us so much momentum for that first half.”

The Crusaders’ defense, however, held for the rest of the first half and the score remained 22-0 at halftime. Sophomore quarterback Brian Rebigila and sophomore wide receiver Jeff Christen led St. Mary’s on two scoring drives to start the second half, bringing the score to 22-14.

The teams traded touchdowns and two-point conversions twice in the fourth quarter, making the score 38-30 with 1:57 to play.

On the first play of Veritas’ ensuing drive, Nick Bennett — the coach’s son — rushed to the right side and found room around the outside. With no St. Mary’s players close, Bennett rounded off the run in the end zone near the goal line, handed the ball to a referee and immediately found his dad on the sideline.

The two hugged, knowing that the championship was in their grasp.

“That was the greatest thing that’s happened to me,” said Nick Bennett, who finished with 158 rushing yards, 131 passing yards and five total touchdowns.

The game was the culmination of the work the players put in this year, but coach Bennett said it was also gratifying for players who started the football program at the school 10 years ago.

“There’s been a lot of years building up to get to this point,” Doug Bennett said.

Ethan Scott, who knocked down more than a few of the Crusaders’ passing attempts, said the team knew from the beginning of the year that its had a chance to win the championship, so the players worked harder than they ever had to achieve that goal.

When he held the championship plaque at midfield, he said he felt extremely proud about what the team did.

Coach Bennett took a week off from his work as — get this — an investment advisor to focus on helping his players cash in on their investment.

“I might need to take another week off just to celebrate,” he said.

Comments

heartofalion56 4 years, 1 month ago

What makes you think he could win one game in 6A... The ONLY reason this years football team went 3-6 was due to injuries. But i bet you didn't even watch a game to see the talent and new system Coach Wedd has now. The Lions did beat a team the other high school couldnt beat in 2 tries. Just saying..

cheeseburger 4 years, 1 month ago

If you will reread my post, I made no mention of the Veritas coach's ability to win games at the 6A level - I merely stated that he wouldn't use the f-bomb like the current coach does.

I did watch a game - several, in fact - I have a relative playing on the LHS team.

Sometimes you can give something a fresh coat of paint, but underneath - it's still the same old thing! The current coach has been doing it his way for so long that any changes or improvements will likely be minor or hardly noticeable.

formerlhsplayer 4 years, 1 month ago

@cheeseburger you are an idiot; heartofalion56 wasn't even talking to you he was talking to that idiot edjayhawk maybe you guys should get together and throw rocks at each other for being so stupid

formerlhsplayer 4 years, 1 month ago

@edjayhawk I hope you are joking........this coach would not be able to handle 6A football in the state of Kansas that would be like saying KU football should hire the head coach of the NCAA div. III team that wins the championship this year. Before you open your mouth on LJWorld you should think if you're going to sound stupid like you just did before you say something

rednblackBulldog 4 years, 1 month ago

Shame on all of you! This is an article about a team WINNING a State Championship! And the Negative Nellies of Lawrence have managed to turn a celebration of success into yet another bashing! If you were Coach Bennett or any of his players, how would you feel after reading this? This isn't the place or the article for some of you to lay out your personal vendettas against LHS or the LHS coaching staff! Which by the way, personally attacking someone or their coaching is so low class, be it LHS/FSHS or VERITAS!! Coach Bennett, Veritas players, student body and family members CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!! As a former resident of Lawrence, I am saddened and embarrassed by the current residents of this town who are trying to take this monumental occasion away from these young student-athletes and their coaches.

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