The Hononegah Indians brotherhood goes to another level with the Benson brothers


Jacob and Maximus Benson Hononegah High School Football Rockton, IL

This story also appears in our first-ever print edition for September 2023. Copies are available at locations across the Stateline, especially at the Roscoe Lions Club Fall Festival, outside the bingo tent, at the entrance to the exhibitors tent, and at the Lions Festival Parade on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.

Famous author Robert Rivers once said, “Brothers aren’t simply close; brothers are knit together.” That could easily have been written about Hononegah brothers Jacob and Maximus Benson. Jacob plays right guard for the Hononegah Indians, while his younger brother Maximus plays right tackle. The duo is part of a football offense that has huge expectations for this season.

Jacob Benson plays right guard for the Hononegah Indians, while his younger brother Maximus plays right tackle.

The brothers are young in their football careers but are beyond mature as human beings. As I worked on the story about the brothers, I found more people say things about their character then their size or playing ability -though Jacob is listed at 6’4” 290 lbs and Maximus Benson is listed at 6’2” 300 lbs. The theme that I came back to was gentle giants. Hononegah Indians offensive line coach Phil Adams stated “Our program is going to be better because we have players like the Benson brothers.”

Hononegah offensive line Coach Adams said,  “This is my first year ever having brothers that played the same position that I have coached. I have coached for 18 years and haven't had this.”

The uniqueness isn’t lost on the brothers. Recently speaking with both Jacob and Maximus, I asked if they would like to play together at the next level. Both agreed that it would be great but they are enjoying the time spent with the brotherhood that is Hononegah Indian football. They credited the coaches, teammates, and the entire Hononegah Indian community for allowing them to have such a great experience so far.

Side by side: Jacob and Maximus Benson

As far back as I can see, the Benson brothers are the first brothers to start on the O-line together in quite some time if ever. The program has had quite a few brother combos, just not on the offensive line.

Jacob Benson started his high school career not even playing football. As a freshman he felt the desire to play basketball. After this one season of hoops, he felt the football bug catch on. Coach Phil Adams says, “He came in his sophomore year and really showed that he has been working on his studying of the play calls and his checks. He was also very coachable! We talked as an offensive staff about the depth chart for the offensive line. We had a couple of players who left the program, which gave more opportunities for kids that have been improving through our program. Jake took advantage of his opportunity last year and played right tackle for us as a sophomore.” 

Adams says, “This year, he comes in as a junior and is acting like he is a senior. I mean that in a good way. He has studied the playbook and understands what our offense is doing. He is learning the calls at all of the offensive line positions. This is vital this year, because I made the decision to move him from right tackle to right guard. He has two younger players next to him that he can help with calls if need be.”

Gentle giants: Jacob and Maximus Benson

Maximus played his freshman season on the freshman team. After last season he was determined to work to play on the varsity team. He learned the playbook and worked to improve his skills and his body. Like Jacob, he attended lineman camps over the summer. Coach Adams and the entire staff are a bit surprised as to how well the young sophomore has taken to his right tackle role on Varsity. “He came in to start camp with an injury that he sustained at a lineman camp. I honestly thought that it could hinder his development without getting the reps. He hung around and paid great attention to what we were doing on the field. I would drill him in our offensive line film sessions about assignments and rules. He would ACE them all!!! When he was able to get back on the field and participate, I gave him his shot. I wanted to see where he was at. He was picking up blitzes that we were having issues with. He understood the assignments. He was grading out very well.”

Asking Coach Adams about the potential of the brothers and how far they could go, he replied, “I could see them pushing each other to be a duo in the All-Conference voting!”

Mom Chelsea says, “They are just outstanding student-athletes, and just all-around great kids.” She feels very lucky and fortunate to have two sons starting on the same team at the same time but understands the work they put into school and football. “Every night they come home and they discuss practice and they watch each other’s game films and give each other tips. They help each other with their homework. They’re amazing brothers.”

Jacob Benson
Maximus Benson
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