Knights lose 14-7 to Wheaton North

Nikko Gountanis makes a 29-yard catch in the second round playoffs, Nov. 2. Prospect loses 14-7 against Wheaton North,ending their season.|Ian Magnuson

By Peter Fusilero
Executive Sports Editor|
It was a disappointing game this past Friday for Prospect. The 13-seeded Knights took on the 5-seeded Wheaton North Falcons in the second round of the playoffs losing in a heartbreaker 14-7.
The loss emotionally affected the seniors and made them realize how big of a bond they had between each other.
“I love all the guys that are around me,” senior Joe Gleason said. “I love them like a family and I will remember every single thing about this team.”
The Knights battled all the way through and proved that they gave 110 percent effort despite the ending results.
“Everyone just fought as hard as they could all of the time,” Gleason said. “Today we fought as hard as we could, we just came a little short.”
The Knights were a little shaky in the first quarter when quarterback Devin O’Hara was sacked twice by the Falcon defense.
With 5:20 left in the first quarter, Wheaton North was able find the holes in Prospect’s defense and scored a 1-yard touchdown (missed PAT) putting them up 6-0.
Things then went downhill again when one of the Knights’ top wide receivers Andrew Hajek went out with an injured knee with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter.
Wheaton North had their share of injuries when their best quarterback Clayton Thorson and running back Patrick Sharp had to sit out for the rest of the game.
Things started turning around in the second quarter for the Knights when junior Nikko Gountanis caught a 29-yard pass to put the Knights into great field position.
Running back Stevan Isteefanos must have had the hot hand because he had the ball four straight plays in a row where he then ran in a 27-yard touchdown to put the Knights up 7-6 going into halftime.
Both Wheaton North and Prospect’s defense came up big making big stops when they needed to and allowing neither team to score in the entire third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Wheaton had possession of the ball for five straight minutes, gradually moving their way up the field with big catches and big runs.
The Falcons later scored on a five-yard catch and completed a 2-point conversion to put them up 14-7 with 4:58 remaining in the game.
This was the Knight’s last chance to make a comeback, but they were forced to punt with 3:40 left in the game.
The defense tried to get the ball back and successfully did so when Wheaton North committed a costly penalty that forced them to punt.
With one minute left, Prospect had one last chance, but the first play they made resulted in an interception and the Falcons took a knee sealing the win.
Even though the loss hurt, head coach Mike Sebestyen is proud of his team win or lose.
“These kids battled their asses off for 48 minutes,” Sebestyen said. “That’s all I can really ask of them and they left everything they had on the field.”
Sebestyen isn’t concerned with not playing in a quarter final or state title game. He really is going to miss the group of guys he had on this team.
“I loved being around these kids and I wanted seven more days like they did,” Sebestyen said. “The part that hurts for me is I don’t get to go to practice with [the team] Monday, I don’t get to spend seven more days with them.”
Looking back on the season and his relationship with the seniors, Sebestyen couldn’t put his emotion into words.
“I need more time to sit and reflect on the season,” Sebestyen said. “As we get clear of this week, I’ll be better of expressing my appreciation towards this group of seniors and what they have done.”