The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

Benacquista wins 100th game as football head coach

Chris Benacquista, serving as West Essex’s football coach since 2011, notched his 100th win as head coach on Sept. 14 against Wayne Valley. (Photo courtesy of Laura Drago)

Christopher Benacquista took over as West Essex’s head football coach in 2011, and the Knights have accomplished much in his tenure. Two state championships in 2011 and 2017, an undefeated season in 2020 — and on Sept. 14, Benacquista added another huge honor to his roster with his 100th win as head coach.

Benacquista, or “Benny” to his players, entered the 2023 season with a 98-30 record, although the Football Knights started out slow, losing their first two games on the road to Haddonfield and Westwood. But the Knights got back on track, taking care of business with a 21-3 win against Passaic Valley on Sept. 8 for win No. 99. Then six days later, they got Coach Benny his 100th win in a 21-7 victory over Wayne Valley. 

Benacquista played football and graduated from West Essex (Class of ‘93), and served as an assistant coach on the team for 10 years before his promotion to 2011. While 100 wins was certainly an accomplishment, Benacquista was more focused on exhaling.

“Honestly, it was a little bit of a relief, too, because we were struggling as a team early on,” Benacquista said.

Being raised in this area, Benny has been at West Essex as a student, teacher and coach over the years. Has it felt like home? It most certainly has.

“If you had told me when I played here that I’d be coaching here, I would have thought you’re crazy. That wasn’t the plan,” Benny said. “Certain things happen for a reason. I was hired by Coach Droz [Drozjock]. And it’s been great. I really enjoy the school. I love the coaching, I love the players, I love the competition. This is home and it’s been that way for a long time.”

After a sluggish 0-2 start, the Football Knights have won 4 of 5, most recently a grudge match win against West Morris Central. West Morris had knocked Benny’s Knights out of the state playoffs in 2021 and 2022, and West Essex avenged some demons. They’ll finish up their final home game of the regular season on Oct. 13, at 6:30 P.M. start against Belleville.

Behind the Byline
Ryan Conway
Ryan Conway, Sports Editor
Ryan is a Sports Editor for the Wessex Wire (Class Of '24) that likes sports and video games. Usually raging about the Mets or Jets, Ryan enjoys bonding with friends and family, and discussing sports with others.
More to Discover