Offensive line continuing to step up for Prospect
There's something about playing the offensive line at Prospect.
They know just how to take care of business.
"I have been playing the line since I was in third grade," said Prospect offensive tackle Sam Tsagalis, a three-year starter for the Knights.
"I would always rather play offensive line. It all comes down to you. We are never really in the spotlight. But at the end of the day, if we win or lose, it is because of us."
Like all teams, Prospect has leaned hard on its offensive line. But last Saturday, when the Knights were playing their fourth and fifth-string quarterbacks, the pressure was really on the group.
Prospect will be counting again on the its offensive line to be a dominant force this Saturday. That's when the Knights will host Jacobs in the Class 7A quarterfinals at 7 p.m. at George Gattas Stadium.
The Knights' offensive line has very good size all the way across. They average 6-foot-2 and 271 pounds. They also like to brawl as they showed in last Saturday's win over Buffalo Grove.
"They are tough," Prospect coach Dam DeBeouf said. "I think this last game was the perfect example of how they knew exactly what we were doing. We are still pounding it at right on them. On the one touchdown we went down the field running the same type of plays. And then to get that first down later to seal it. That was all grit."
The Prospect offensive line has three seniors and two juniors. Tsgalis, along with Clayton Kamp and Sean Mitchell are the seniors. Ola Sulaimon and Chance Rolfe are the juniors.
Tsagalis is the biggest of the group being 6-4, 264. Kamp is 6-3, 275, Rolfe is 6-1, 280, Sulaimon is 6-1, 260, and Mitchell is 6-foot, 280.
Tsagalis and Kamp both started last spring when the Knights won the Mid-Suburban East title and lost to Barrington in the MSL title game.
Kamp also got handed down not only the knowledge of playing the offensive line from his older brother Mitch, but also the technique in playing center as Mitch did three years ago.
"I have been playing center since I was a freshman," said Kamp. "It was good to have someone to look up to. He gave me some good advice when I was a freshman. It gave me a solid advantage over the other kids of what varsity football is like. He always told me to stay calm and not worry about bad snaps, but to make sure I made my block."
Mitchell was a youth quarterback before he made the transition to offensive line.
"It was a big jump for me," said Mitchell, who is a guard. "Our coaches have told us that this is the only position in sport where your performance determines someone else's safety. I think that is something unique and cool that we get to work with."
Both Sulaimon and Rolfe did not play football until they came to Prospect. They both have not only made the adjustment to playing the sport, but love being in the middle of the action.
"I found my passion playing football," said Rolfe, who is a guard. "It was super fun my freshman year. They put me on the line. The older players have taught me well."
Sulaimon said he knew he had to work hard to be part of the starting group this season.
"I just came out as a freshman and I liked it right away," said Sulaimon, who plays tackle. "It took a lot of hard work to start this season. I had a lot of competition to be a starter this season."
This group of brawlers also competes very well in the classroom. The grade-point average of the five is 3.84.
"They are the guys you want to be around," DeBeouf said. "They don't usually get the limelight for all the good that they do."