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The Student News Site of Prospect High School


The Student News Site of Prospect High School



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Defensive turnaround huge in playoff win

The defense makes another stop in Prospect's 33-13 first round playoff win against Carmel High School.  (Photo by Amanda Mlikan).
The defense makes another stop in Prospect’s 33-13 first round playoff win against Carmel High School. (Photo by Amanda Mlikan).

By Neel Thakkar
Associate Editor-in-Chief
After last week’s 38-46 loss against Rolling Meadows, Prospect head coach Brent Pearlman was able to sum up his team’s troubles in one word.
“Defense,” Pearlman said.
“I think we’ve been close with the defense all year,” he added a few days later.  “The frustrating part is that we haven’t got there.”
Pearlman will now have to look for problems in other places, because on Friday night, the defense got there.  They intercepted Carmel quarterback Brian Serio as many times as they let him complete a pass (one of each).  They held the Corsairs to less than half the points they normally score (29.5 points per game).  They forced three fumbles and recovered two.  And, perhaps most of all, the defense put to rest any doubts, at least for a week, that they would be the ones holding back the Knights and their juggernaut offense from making a deep playoff run.
From almost the very beginning  of the Knights’ 33-13 first round win against seventh-seeded Carmel, it seemed like the defense had a new vitality.  After senior quarterback Miles Osei  marched the Knights down the field for a touchdown on the first possession of the game, the defense, unlike past weeks, didn’t allow Carmel to even things up.  The Knights bent, giving up a 27-yard pass to junior Ryan Cappis, but they did not break, stopping the Corsairs on downs just 25 yards from the end zone.
That was all the encouragement the Prospect offense needed.  Quickly, they engineered another two-minute scoring drive down the field, this time spearheaded by junior running back/wide receiver Peter Bonahoom, who finished with 203 combined yards and a touchdown on the day.
The pattern was established, and neither the Corsairs nor the Knights would deviate from it for the rest of the game.  While Carmel did have  a few successes, like sophomore fullback Jordan Kos’ 44-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, the Corsairs were never able to muster a significant threat to the Knights, who were never behind at any point.
“I think we saw a need to survive here,” Pearlman said.
Field conditions and the weather also cooperated this week, after granting the Knights nothing but freezing, rainy nights and muddy fields for the past five weeks.  While it was still cold— even windier than usual—the game was mercifully dry, and both the Prospect offense and defense found the turf field to be a blessing.
“The dry surface was awesome,” Osei, who finished with 210 yards on 36 carries, said.
“We surely enjoyed playing on [a] dry field,” Pearlman said.  “I think defensively this was perfect for us.”
Though many factors were undoubtedly involved in the Knights’ defensive renaissance, the transformation is perhaps best characterized by senior offensive and defensive lineman Victor Rhee’s own story.  Rhee, normally an offensive lineman, played defense for only the second time since his sophomore year and made a huge impact against Carmel.
“Last week I played defense for the first time, and I didn’t do so great,” Rhee said.  “My team needed me to step up this week, and that’s what I [did].”
The same could be said for the entire defense.
The Knights will host 15th-seeded Wheaton North (6-4) in the second round after they upset second-seeded and previously unbeaten (Rockford) Boylan on Saturday, 17-13.

Check out all the photos from the game  at our full photo album.

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  • K

    Keith SchroederOct 30, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Very nice. No need to read it in the Herald tomorrow morning.