MOELLER, KNIGHTS TAKE CONTROL OF MSL EAST WITH WIN OVER HERSEY

Quarterback+Gary+Moeller+passed+for+333+yards+and+four+touchdowns.+He+also+added+a+rushing+touchdown+and+an+interception+returned+for+a+touchdown.+%28photo+by+Alexis+Esparza%29

Quarterback Gary Moeller passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown and an interception returned for a touchdown. (photo by Alexis Esparza)

Cameron Sullivan, Executive Sports Editor

The anticipation was high coming into the MSL East rivalry game between the Prospect Knights and Hersey Huskies. In Edgytim’s weekly Class 7A coaches poll, the Knights ranked 12th in the state while the Huskies ranked eighth. The Knights proved their ranking wrong as they blew past the Huskies 49-29.

“Our whole message this week was we believe in our team,” head coach Dan Deboeuf said. “We didn’t feel like we were underdogs coming into this game.”

It was an offensive onslaught for the Knights. Senior wide receiver Tyson Splinter had five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown and senior running back Luke Zardzin had a 42-yard touchdown before leaving the game with an injury. 

The wide receiver who had a breakout game was sophomore Frank Covey who had 212 receiving yards on seven catches for three touchdowns.

However, the story of the game was the quarterback, senior Gary Moeller. Moeller had the game of his high school career. Moeller threw for 333 yards, four touchdowns and picked up 91 yards on the ground and had a rushing touchdown. On the Knights first possession of the game, Moeller housed a 69-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead, and they would lead the rest of the game.

“We know what [Moeller is] capable of,” Deboeuf said. “I mean that’s the type of player he is.”

The receiving trio of senior Noah Marx, junior Owen Walter and Covey had one thing to say about Moeller: “he’s the best quarterback in the MSL.”

“It feels great,” Moeller said. “It’s not just me … the [offensive line was] getting moving, receivers [were] making plays, [and] Gavin Flanagan and Matthew Raitano stepped up with [Zardzin] injured. I can’t speak enough about them.”

Not only did Moeller make an impact on the offensive side of the ball, but he stepped up with an interception returned for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

“It’s fun; it’s good to be back,” Moeller said. “I missed it out there, going out there and just hitting people.”

The defense had their best game of the season as they held the Huskies to a season-low 29 points along with picking up four turnovers.

Junior linebacker Peyton Burgh got his second interception of the year and junior defensive back Gino Paredes got an interception as well. Junior defensive lineman Ben Sahakian had a sack, tackle for a loss and fumble recovery.

“So proud … I thought our defensive staff did an incredible job of kind of resetting and just sticking together and coaching one play at a time, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Deboeuf said.

The Huskies did have some success as junior wide receiver Ben Clawson had 12 receptions for 154 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. He also picked up 61 rushing yards as well. The effort from Clawson just wasn’t enough as the Knights got their first win over the Huskies since 2012.

“It was huge. We knew the magnitude of the game; we still had a bad taste in our mouth from last year and the year before,” Moeller said. “Year after year it seemed like they had our number, so to finally get that win, especially in the senior year, it’s big.”