By Neel Thakkar
As expected, Prospect’s offense delivered against Hersey, putting up 40 points, but it was the Knights’ defense that was the story on this rainy, muddy Friday night in Arlington Heights.
After allowing their last two opponents—Barrington and Buffalo Grove—to put up 37 and 39 points, respectively, the shutout of the Huskies, putting the Knights at 5-1 overall (1-1 in in the MSL East) and third place in the East, was a welcome improvement.
“We focused all week on … being what we call a ‘hitting defense,'” junior Peter Bonahoom, who plays linebacker and wide reciever, said. “[We’ve] been kind of soft and [Friday] night we came out … [and] we held them at the line of scrimmage.”
Despite missing senior linebacker Joe Mack, the defensive effort was successful in almost every category, holding Hersey to just five first downs and 86 total yards. It also kept the Huskies caged in their own territory for the majority of the game—it wasn’t until the 9:00 mark in the fourth quarter that Hersey crossed midfield, turning the ball over on downs the very next play.
“It was good to see us stop somebody,” coach Brent Pearlman said.
Another change from previous weeks for the Knights was a greater focus on time of possession. Although Prospect still had some flashy plays—such as senior quarterback Miles Osei’s (169 yards passing, 82 rushing) 42-yard touchdown pass to senior John Coen (77 total yards receiving) and another 43-yard touchdown throw to Bonahoom, who finished with 146 yards rushing and 73 receiving—the offense was noticeably different from the one that was featured in shootouts against Barrington and Buffalo Grove.
“One of the problems we were having was that we were trying to score a touchdown on every play,” Bonahoom said.
This week was different: “If we had to go five yards a play, [we would] just go five yards a play,” Bonahoom added.
This emphasis might pay off big against next week’s opponent, Elk Grove, where victory might be determined by which high-powered quarterback gets to stay on the field longer: Prospect’s Osei or the Grenadier’s senior Nick Meyer, who has passed or rushed for 19 touchdowns this season, compared to Osei’s 24.
“We just had to come out and take what they gave us,” Pearlman said, “We’ll need to do that later in the season; we’re going to have to control the clock at times.”
To see more pictures of the game, go to our photo album.