Prep football: Benes, Schlies go head-to-head to prepare for WFCA All-Star game
The Tiger teammates played on opposite sides of the ball Saturday, July 16, and faced each other during practice leading up to the all-star game.
OSHKOSH – It was an interesting week leading up to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Small School All-Star Game for Austin Schlies and Ben Benes.
The teammates at Northwestern High School were used to forming an elite blocking and running combination that ripped through the Heart O’ North Conference last season.
But during scrimmages for the all-star game, Schlies — who rushed for 1,445 yards as a senior — played outside linebacker while Benes was on the other side of the ball at right guard.
The two clashed on a number of occasions as Schlies tried to beat Benes for a tackle.
“Ben tried to kick me out,” Schlies said. “He got some, but then I got away from them sometimes. It was a battle for sure.
“Sometimes I just let him hit me, because why not. It felt good.”
Benes had fun going against Schlies.
“Playing against Austin, it was definitely weird because I’m used to having him right behind me when I’m pulling and he wasn’t there,” Benes said. “I had to trust the other guys and I was kicking (Austin) out instead. It was something to get used to.”
The two Northwestern Tigers had fun during scrimmages but even more fun in the game, being teammates one last time.
Benes helped the North offense on a few scoring drives and Schlies was part of a defense that held the South in check. The North squad scored 13 fourth-quarter points to pull away for a 25-7 victory on Saturday, July 16, at Titan Stadium.
Schlies and Benes both had great experiences getting able to play in the all-star game and all the festivities leading up to the main event.
“It was definitely a lot of fun to play in this,” Benes said. “It was a lot harder than I was expecting, but we’re all all-stars, so we’re all fighting for our last game more or less as high schoolers.”
Added Schlies: “It was very interesting. Monday through Friday was long, practices were tough to get through. It was hot every day, had one rain day. It was interesting just playing defense. I was on the sideline a lot and I haven’t experienced that in a while.”
Benes started the game at right guard and played the majority of the offensive plays.
Schlies finished the game with 3 ½ tackles. He was also the team’s punter, kicking four times for 166 yards with a long of 53.
One of Schlies’ tackles was for a 6-yard loss.
“I was patient coming around the edge and I just sat and the running back came right to me and I just held my ground and got a nice TFL,” Schlies said.
Good friends, Schlies and Benes have been playing football together since fourth grade.
They were able to play one last time, which was also the final football game for both guys, who won’t be playing in college.
“Coming into the week it was kind of nerve-racking because it was like the last time you’re ever going to get a tackle, ever maybe touch the ball,” Schlies said. “It was definitely the sad part, but coming out and playing with a bunch of guys that we played against, we all got along really well.”
“It definitely nice to strap the pads back on again and give it one last go,” Benes said.
N/SS sends two to 8-player game
Northwood/Solon Springs had two players in the 8-player Small School All-Star Game, which took place Friday, July 15.
Bryon Hobscheid Jr. and Syver Gulbrandsen represented N/SS.
The North squad beat the South 23-6.