Running into the playoffs

By Nick Stanojevic

Executive Sports Editor

After gaining 413 rushing yards last week against Buffalo Grove, the Prospect Knights (8-1) wrapped up their regular season with an eighth straight win and an outright MSL East championship by beating Buffalo Grove 28-0 (4-5).

The running game was led by senior quarterback Steve Dazzo, who ran for 212 yards while senior Peter Bonahoom added another 99. Meanwhile the Knights dominated defensively, giving up only 192 yards.

“I think we are doing what we have to do,” coach Brent Pearlman said. “We are getting better each week, I think we are on track where we can go in there and be successful if we take advantage of our opportunities.”

According to Pearlman, in almost every game different players have stepped up, resulting in victories. Pearlman points at players like junior Sam Frasco and senior Grant DePalma who stepped up against Elk Grove. Frasco had six catches for 105 yards, while DePalma added 147 rushing yards.

“That’s what you want to see this time of year,” Pearlman said, “you want to see new guys emerging.”

More importantly for Prospect, the playoff brackets were released on Saturday after all games were completed. The Knights were seeded fourth in their bracket, pairing them with the Rockford Guilford Vikings (6-3).

Pearlman expects a heavy dose of the running game from the Vikings, who have a strong two running back system relying mainly on junior Dontrell Chance. Chance ran for 899 yards and 13 touchdowns this season and runs a 4.39 40-yard dash. Defensively Pearlman expects to see the Vikings attack and “get in

[Prospect’s] face.”

“Essentially, they are going to play a smash-mouth style of football,” Pearlman said.

Pearlman is trying not to look past the Vikings but does believe “this team is capable of making a long playoff run and also capable of not making one.” An important factor for how the team’s playoff run finishes is how badly the players want it.

“There are some years that you are not sure the team wants to continue playing, I don’t get that feeling whatsoever with this team,” Pearlman said. “… It sounds crazy but there are pieces of the team that want it to be over, I don’t sense that anywhere this year. … I sense these kids want to keep playing for as long as they can possibly play.”

Take a look at the full playoff bracket at