BELLBROOK — On the evening of Nov. 4, the night before the biggest game of his football career, a fire burned down the family home Bellbrook quarterback Luke Benetis on Ferry Rd.
Benetis, a sophomore, told News Center 7′s James Rider that he remembered waking up to the fire.
“When I saw it happen, I woke and everything kind of floods your head and you just got to think about ‘is everyone safe?’” Benetis said.
Benetis was able to get his family and one of their dogs out the house and called 911, but the house was a total loss.
Benetis’ teammates and community were shocked, but then shifted their thinking of ways to help the family.
Jeff Jenkins, Bellbrook’s head football coach, said the community was hit hard by the news.
“I think that really sunk in for everybody when he has to go out and get new cleats, girdles and a jersey and everything,” Jenkins said. “It was difficult to deal with, but they dealt with it really well.”
For Benetis, it was a chance to get a sense of normal, but the sophomore only had one thing on his mind, as Bellbrook senior Gavyn Roop said.
“All he cared about was getting the next win, keeping us going and it just shows how good of a teammate he was,” Roop said.
Benetis said he put the fire out of his head to focus on the Friday night playoff game.
“I though I’d get a little bit of a trace of it, but I really wasn’t thinking about anything other than getting the job done,” Benetis said.
That was exactly what he did. The night after his family’s home caught fire, Benetis threw three touchdown passes to lift Bellbrook to a 42-35 win over Wapakoneta. He told News Center 7 that he was overcome with emotion after the game.
“I realized once the clock hit zero, it just kind of hit me. I felt the tears coming a little bit,” Benetis said. “I knew I did an amazing job for what just happened. Really once we got into the huddle in the corner down there, coach gave me the game ball. I realized what I had done and how impactful it was towards everyone else.”
Benetis said that game ball means everything to him.
“I got that football, I look at it everyday now,” Benetis said. “I can go home and just see it. When he gave me that, it broke my heart. I started crying and everything. I just knew I had my brother’s support and I got to do it for them.”
Benetis told News Center 7 his mentality now is that things can only get better from here.
Benetis and his teammates continue their playoff run Friday when they face off with Tippecanoe.
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