By Wyatt Dojutrek, associate online editor-in-chief
It was a tale of two completely different halves for the varsity football team in its 24-13 homecoming victory against Deerfield on Friday night.
Both the Prospect offense and defense had the momentum throughout the first two quarters. The defense shutout the Warriors giving up only 56 yards at the end of twenty four minutes of play.
Head coach Dan DeBoeuf likes what he has seen from the defense in the first four games so far this season.
“I think it goes back to coach [Brock] Collins getting those guys ready on a weekly basis,” DeBoeuf said. “He does an awesome job getting those guys prepared, and our defense is definitely the backbone of our team right now, so we are going to continue to lean on those guys.”
At the end, Collins’s defense racked up four turnovers, three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
The offense, on the other hand, was jolted on a 22-yard field goal from senior Tony Santangelo, and a 37-yard touchdown run from senior Michael Shafis.
But the Warriors had an answer in the second half, actually two answers.
Down 17-0 with 10:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, Deerfield put its first points on the board coming on a touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Nagelbach to Alex Cohan on a 27 yard connection.
On the very next Deerfield drive, Nagelbach threw another touchdown pass to Cohan, this time a 19 yard strike.
However, the Knights offense had an answer, in the form of Shafis.
With the score climbing back to a one possession game, Shafis crossed paydirt a second time, finishing his night with four carries 103 yards and two touchdowns, but also finishing off the Warriors.
Senior Jimmy Martin thinks Shafis has one of a kind talent running the football against defenses.
“Michael Shafis, I’ve been playing with him for a long time,” Martin said. “He’s a freak, he is a freak of nature. I have no way to describe it, like the kid does it all.”
While the experienced Shafis had a night on the ground, the underclassmen for the Knights stepped up in a huge way.
Sophomore Luke Zardzin carried the heavy workload for the Knights, running 21 times for 80 yards. And sophomore Gary Moeller continued his interception streak, picking off his third pass in the first four games of his varsity career.
And in the first four games this season, special teams provided a big spark for the Knights, and tonight was no different.
Special Teams Coordinator Tim Beishir’s group had a blocked kick, a 64-yard punt, and recovering an onside kick all to their credit.
DeBoeuf likes to emphasize the importance of special teams during the week.
“We spend a lot of time on our special teams,” DeBoeuf said. “I think that it shows most of the time, and we are going to keep working on all facets of the game.”
Even with all of the positives coming out of tonight’s contest, DeBoeuf knows that there is still a lot to fix.
“I think we made too many mistakes on offense,” DeBoeuf said. “And when you go as fast as we do, if we go three-and-out then that means the defense is on the field a lot. Time of possession was definitely in their favor, so they’re bound to get a play or two.”
The Knights are going to need to fix those errors heading into this week, as undefeated Hersey comes to George Gattas Memorial Stadium next Friday to start conference play.
“We’re excited about our start,” DeBoeuf said. “We definitely have some tough games coming up against some quality opponents, so we’re going to be excited for the challenge.”