By Wyatt Dojutrek, associate online editor-in-chief
George Gattas Memorial Stadium was silent. The only whisper of sound was coming from the rain that was coming down onto the field and into the stands.
It was midway through the third quarter in the varsity football team’s season opening win 28-13 against Saint Viator. And the Knights, down 13-3, needed something, anything to get the crowd on to their feet.
Even though Prospect was down ten in the third quarter, senior Jimmy Martin had a lot of confidence in his team heading into the final quarter.
“Our team all week said if we struggle early, we got to keep fighting back,” Martin said. “We took them into deep water, and guess what, Lions cannot breath underwater.”
Saint Viator’s offense had its way against the Knights defense during the first 30 minutes of the contest, including giving up a 22 and 80 yard touchdown run to Elijah Black. Black finished the night 148 yards on 15 carries and his aforementioned two touchdowns as well.
But the Knights had found multiple answers on both sides of the ball in the second half.
Sophomore Gary Moeller was the first, picking off Viator quarterback Jack Mahoney, which helped the Knights bring it back to a one possession game on senior Tony Santangelo’s second of his two field goals, which made it 13-6.
In his first game as Prospect Head Coach, Dan DeBoeuf was impressed with the defensive resiliency throughout the contest.
“Our defense was our backbone tonight,” DeBoeuf said. “We knew we had to take them all the way down to the wire, and we did. But coach [Brock] Collins and that defense, what a showing.”
Moeller’s interception helped kickstart both sides of the ball, with the Knights scoring on the next drive thanks to senior Michael Shafis’s 16 yard touchdown run which tied the score at thirteen.
With the Lions marching near midfield, junior Adam Ryerson picked off Mahoney and put the Knights in Viator territory with a chance to take the lead. Mahoney finished 8 for 20 passing with 99 yards, and ran for 10 yards on 12 carries.
Shafis, and sophomore Luke Zardzin did the rest, with Zardzin rushing for 17 of his 83 yards on that drive. Shafis would fight his way for his second touchdown of the game, this time on a four yard run to give the Knights their first lead of the night.
DeBoeuf was extremely impressed at how both Zardzin and Shafis played.
“He [Zardzin] carried a big load, and when Michael was going he had some big carries. But I thought both of those guys ran really well tonight,” DeBoeuf said.
And as it turned out, that was all Prospect needed.
Now with the crowd back in its raucous mood, after a Saint Viator turnover on downs, Shafis put the dagger on the Lions chances when he scored a 23 yard touchdown to give the Knights a 15 point victory.
Shafis finished the night with seven carries for 60 yards, his last three carries all ended up as six points for the Knights. Martin finished with 21 carries for 69 yards.
Martin also threw for 63 yards completing 10 of his 14 passes.
After facing one playoff team this week, the Knights will face another team that had a deep postseason run last season in Hoffman Estates on the road next Friday.
“They are really tough,” DeBoeuf said. “They are really athletic, and we are going to have to improve a ton to be in the game next week.”