Prospect knocks off Buffalo Grove; will play Jacobs in 7A quarterfinals
Prospect likes to go four-wide on its offense.
On Saturday night in the Class 7A football playoffs against Mid-Suburban East rival Buffalo Grove, Prospect found itself going four-quarterback. Those four proved to be just as good as one as the Knights held on for a 13-8 win over host Buffalo Grove before 4,000 fans.
Prospect (9-2) will host Jacobs next weekend in the 7A quarterfinals. The exact day and time will be announced on Monday.
"I was proud of my two sophomores (Matt Guza and Griffin Limbers)," Prospect coach Dan DeBeouf said. "This is the biggest game that has been played around here in a long time and they did the best they could with the limited practice that they had."
Prospect took the opening kickoff and Bradley Vierneisel, who was subbing for starter Frank Covey (out with an ankle sprain), drove the Knights to the Bison 7-yard line.
When the drive stalled, Benjamin Sahakian came in and kicked a 24- yard field goal. But just two players earlier, Vierneisel was injured on a running play. He did not return.
With Vierneisel out, the Prospect offense struggled. The Knights threw an interception and had other miscues as Prospect used Guza and Limbers.
Buffalo Grove was able to take advantage when, early in the second quarter, Michael Cervantes threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Dominick Marrazzo. The Bison opted to attempt a trick play on the conversion, but the pass failed, leaving the score at 6-3.
That's when the Matthew Raitano and the Prospect offensive line of Sam Tsagalis, Clayton Kamp, Chance Rolfe, Ola Sulaimon and Sean Mitchell began to take over.
"We just knew we had to keep going," Tsagalis said. "It doesn't mater who is behind us, we just got to keep pushing. Our game plan was to run it right up the middle. And we had to do that every single play."
Then Raitano and the Knights began to gash the Bison inside. The Knights drive down to the 6 and after a loss, Sahakian kicked a 28-yard field goal to tie the game at 6-6.
"I knew the O-line was going to do their job,"" said Raitano, who finished with 109 yards on 27 carries. "We were able to that last time we played them. They just made the hole and my job was easy."
After a short punt that gave Prospect great field position, Raitano and the Knights' offensive line went to work. They took the ball to the Bison 3 when Owen Walter, running out of the Wildcat for the first time ever, scored with 1:20 left in the half to put Prospect up 13-6.
"I have never run the Wildcat," said Walter, who became the fourth Knight at quarterback.
"It was all on my coaches. The O-line saw what I had to do and they worked their tail off to help me get it."
Buffalo Grove (9-2) took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove the Prospect 2. On fourth-and-goal, Cervantes attempted to run off the left side. He was met by Nicholas Grassano and Christopher Rodriguez and then a host of Knights at the 1-yard line.
"Our defense made huge plays all night," DeBeouf said. "I can't say enough about them."
Buffalo Grove did get a safety with 8:43 to play when Prospect fumbled in the end zone and fell on the ball.
The Bison had a trio of opportunities following that, including a blocked punt by Tristan Anderson. But Buffalo Grove's final two possessions ended by interceptions -- Ethan Rossi at the 1-yard line then Jacob Parisi at the 20-yard line with less than a minute to play.
"We game them everything we had, " said Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk, whose team's only losses this year came against Prospect.
"We just had some missed opportunities and that was the key. We threw the ball more than we have and gave ourselves a chance. We just couldn't come up with it."