Photo by Alexis Esparza

Cameron Sullivan, Online Editor-in-Chief

It had been 505 days since the Prospect Knights had played their last game of football, but it was Saturday, March 20, when they finally got back out on the field against the Wheeling Wildcats.

“Honestly it didn’t seem real,” head coach Dan Deboeuf said. “I think for the coaches and the players it was a big emotional ‘holy cow we’re actually playing,’ but it was awesome. [We are] trying to enjoy every moment and make the players know they should enjoy it too and work to get better.”

The Knights set the tone early as senior quarterback Gary Moeller threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Owen Walter in only the second possession of the game. Moeller threw for 163 passing yards and two passing touchdowns while completing 10 of 16 pass attempts in the 37-14 victory for the Knights.

“It’s always nice to win. As a coach, you’re always going to think ‘oh we could’ve done this better or done that better’ so we work to improve it, but victories are hard to get so we’ll take it,” Deboeuf said.

The Knights saw some dominant performances from senior running back Luke Zardzin who picked up 121 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 12 carries and sophomore wide receiver Frank Covey who had three catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s really special. I’m just happy to be out here. It’s been [505] days since I’ve even been in George Gattas [Stadium],” Zardzin said. “I’m really happy with how the team came together. We worked really hard in the offseason and it’s nice to see it show.”

The Knights had a 21-0 lead going into halftime, but a big part of that was due to defense and special teams. Senior defensive back Jake Winski picked up two fumble recoveries and even had a blocked punt while junior linebacker Peyton Burgh stepped up big with an interception in the second half.

“I do think our special teams played a large role with that blocked punt, and [coach Tim Beishir] does an awesome job setting those guys up, and we take our special teams really serious. I definitely think that was a big key,” Deboeuf said. 

Wheeling didn’t get their first points until time was expiring in the third quarter when senior quarterback Solomon Hudson connected with junior wide receiver Joe Mitroi for a late touchdown. Hudson threw for 140 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while Mitroi had nine receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns. 

The Knights look to take this season-opener momentum into their next game against the Elk Grove Grenadiers on March 26.

“It’s going to be a tough game; they’ve got a few good players over there,” Zardzin said. “I think our momentum is going to be there. We’re getting some players back that were injured, and I think everything is going to start coming together.”