Quarterback Jack Milas' first win over Prospect in his three-year varsity football career turned out to be a gem.
The Rolling Meadows senior, committed to Ball State, was 31-of-40 while throwing for 337 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Mustangs shook free from the visiting Knights in the fourth quarter for a 49-28 victory at Robert A. Hoese Athletic Field.
Prospect (3-3, 1-1) nudged ahead 28-27 late in third quarter when QB Devin O'Hara (140 rushing yards) raced 6 yards for a TD. But the Mustangs (5-1, 2-0) scored 3 touchdowns in the final 12 minutes to secure the key Mid-Suburban East triumph.
"Jack was really, really good tonight," said Meadows coach Matt Mishler. "And he took some shots. You've got to give credit to their (Prospect's) defensive line. I thought that was our best overall game of the season."
With linebackers Adam Pavlakisq and Eddie Cardenas and lineman David Sobkowicz among those helping the defense pitch the fourth-quarter shutout in the shootout, the Mustangs' offense took care of the rest.
A 2-yard TD pass from Milas to Steven Royster, a 25-yard run by Alex Niecikowski and 4-yard TD run Royster gave the hosts 22 unanswered points to finish the game.
"When you're up 1 point to start the fourth quarter, you have to finish better," said Prospect coach Mike Sebesyten, who made it a point to find Milas after the game and compliment the QB on his standout performance. "I thought we played well at times but we didn't finish.
"Give them (Meadows) a lot of credit. They played their butts off."
Helping Milas with his big passing numbers was the 129 rushing yards compiled by Royster, including a 66-yard TD in the first period.
"We put in some new running plays that worked well," Milas said. "And that kind of kept their defense unbalanced.
"Passing wise, we knew they were going to drop eight (defenders). But if there isn't much pressure on me, we can pick up on any defense."
And linemen Matt Long, Billy Golaris, Alexis Rojas, Mark Schmid and Matt Barry kept the pressure down in the final two quarters.
"I was proud of our offensive line in the second half," Mishler said. "And defensively, we started maintaining gap responsibility and tackling better."
Milas found five different receivers, with the bulk of his completions going to Andre Campbell (14-127) and junior Matt Campbell (9-125), who caught two first-half touchdown passes. Senior Jacob Grant caught his 2 passes for 40 yards in Meadows' opening drive, including a 29-yard TD pass from Milas.
Andre Campbell, whose 127 yards were a career-high, gained a lot of yardage on screen passes.
"I love that play," said the senior, who has been playing football with or against O'Hara since the second grade when they were teammates on the Arlington Cowboys. "Devin's my best friendWe've been talking back and forth all week and waiting for this game a long time."
The game took a little longer than normal because of 22 penalties.
"The penalties were killing us at times but we'll go back and work on that," Andre Campbell said. "It's just discipline."
Niecikowski's fourth-quarter TD was the first of his career, and he kicked the extra point for his own score.
Meadows corner back Luke Toenjes had a first-quarter interception and then recovered a fumble early in the second quarter which set up a touchdown catch by Matt Campbell that gave Meadows a 19-7 lead.
O'Hara's 7-yard TD run and 80-yard TD pass to Nikko Gountanis got the Knights to within 27-21 at half.
O'Hara's third touchdown run with 1:58 left in the third quarter capped Prospect's scoring.
"When we needed to make big pays, we didn't," said Sebestyen, whose defense got an interception from Andrew Hajek and offense received 112 rushing yards from Stevan Isteefanso. "When they needed to make big plays, they did. So give them credit for what they did, because they deserved it."
"It feels great," Milas said. "They're a rival and they're a good team. Now we've got to get ready for another big game with Elk Grove next week."