Benjamin was leading 40-0 at halftime over Immaculata-LaSalle when the game was called due to weather
PALM BEACH GARDENS — Among the first Palm Beach County high school football teams to take the field in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the Benjamin Buccaneers were their own brand of thunder on Friday night.
The home team Buccaneers (2-0) surged for 40 points in two quarters, blanking visiting LaSalle (1-1) 40-0 in a weather-shortened affair.
While Dorian has since turned northward, the weather continued its recent track record of pummeling Friday Night Lights with rain. Two storm cells joined forces late in the second quarter, forcing a lightning delay that extended halftime until the game was eventually called.
No rain could put out the offensive firepower the Buccaneers displayed in the first half. Among a slew of highlight-reel plays, junior quarterback Santino Marucci paced Benjamin with five touchdowns.
For Benjamin’s first score of the game less than a minute in, Marucci burned rubber on a thirty-plus yard dash through LaSalle’s defense.
On his fourth and final rushing touchdown, Marucci corralled an imperfect snap, beat the outside rush to the right edge, and dove through contact across the goal-line.
"It was all instinct — find the open area and get to it as fast as I can," Marucci said of the play. "When a play (breaks) up like that, it just turns into street ball and it's really every player for themselves. I just took it under my control and got the touchdown for my team."
The Buccaneers’ star signal-caller also did his damage through the air, firing a touchdown pass to Addison Matevia when the senior receiver broke free on a seam route.
Both players placed their success on the shoulders of their offensive linemen.
"Just like Santino said, it starts with the offensive line," Matevia said, when asked about his touchdown catch. "I know when a play like that happens, they all look at the quarterback and the receiver, like, 'that's a great play,' but it really starts with the offensive line. Without them, that play doesn't happen."
Super 11 selection Joshua Pierre-Louis got in on the scoring with a 75-yard touchdown run. The senior running back’s burst came on the first play of a Buccaneers’ drive and was just one more example of the offense’s dominance in the contest.
"You have to be a brotherhood," Pierre-Louis said. "There's no team that ever made it to states and won states without being a brotherhood. You have to treat everyone like they're your brother and you have to be a big family. You have to practice like you play, so that's what we're starting to do. And we're becoming so close that we're limiting our mistakes. We're playing like a family out there. I love to see it. It's just beautiful."
Benjamin will next face Pine Crest in Fort Lauderdale September 13th. Coming off of back-to-back wins to open their season, coach Eric Kresser has high hopes for his team.
"We just try to get better every game, every season," Kresser said. "We talk about it everyday. Play better than last week, have a better year than last year, and we're just trying to build something special. And we're expecting big things from these guys."
If Friday night’s game was any indication, more big things could very well be in store.