By Wyatt Dojutrek, associate online editor-in-chief
It seemed like everything was going picture perfect for Elk Grove at the end of the first half in the Prospect varsity football teams 28-21 victory on Friday night.
Although, on the opening drive, it looked like Prospect’s offense was going to have a picture perfect night.
The Knights got on the board on their opening drive, on a touchdown pass from senior Jimmy Martin to junior Brian Doherty. Martin did not throw an incompletion on that drive.
It was then the Grenadiers turn on offense, and they delivered using some trickery.
Elk Grove running back Ian Ridge caught a pass from quarterback Joey Gaskill, Ridge then proceeded and threw a touchdown pass to Vinny Faciano.
Elk Grove closed off the half on a strong note as well.
Ridge ran in for a touchdown with 3:27 left in the second quarter to make it a 14-10 game, but it was also Elk Grove who would receive the football in the second half.
Elk Grove outscored the Knights 14-3 after the lone Prospect touchdown in the first half.
Even what was at stake for Prospect, head coach Dan DeBoeuf wanted his team to just worry about the next snap.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” DeBoeuf said. “We’ve been talking about it for a couple of weeks of playing the next play six seconds at a time, and our guys bought into that, and it showed.”
However, the next 24 minutes, was all Prospect.
Once again, the Knights scored on the opening drive of a half, this time coming on a 5-yard run from senior Michael Shafis, giving the Knights a 17-14 lead.
The lead would not change sides again. And it was the help from a pair of sophomores who provided big sparks to help preserve it.
Luke Zardzin carried the football 20 times for 105 yards, something that DeBoeuf knows he can count on in the seasons to come.
“I’m just excited I get to coach him for another two years,” DeBoeuf said. “He’s only a young buck soph[more], and talk about toughness, he is all toughness and did a great job tonight.”
The production wasn’t just on the offensive side of the ball.
Gary Moeller continued his intercepting ways, picking off a Gaskill pass that deflected off of the Elk Grove receivers hands. Prospect would score on a Jimmy Martin run to make it 28-14.
Zardzin was happy to see his friend and teammate strive on the big stage like that.
“Me and Gary are really good friends and teammates for a longtime,” Zardzin said. “For years to come it will be a lot of fun, and cannot wait to finish this year too.”
Martin and Shafis also came out in full force on the ground, with Martin finishing with 103 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown. Shafis rushed 14 times for 75 yards and a touchdown.
The victory makes the Knights playoff eligible for the first time since the 2012 season, the teams who made the cut as well as the matchups will be announced on Saturday night on NBC Sports Chicago starting at 8 PM.
Even with the potential playoff berth on the line, the game against the Grenadiers was just one of the nine games on the regular season schedule for DeBoeuf.
“We tried to treat it like any other game,” DeBoeuf said. “And it payed off, so we are ready to go.”