Prospect boots Wheeling
Two field goals by junior Anthony Santangelo ended up making the difference in Prospect's 12-7 victory over host Wheeling under-sopping wet conditions on Friday night.
Those same playing conditions made it difficult for the offenses to score, as there were a combined 15 fumbles in the game.
The contest became a chess match of field position before Prospect ultimately check-mated a three-game losing skid.
The rain did not deter Santangelo, whose field goals of 41 and 22 yards ultimately decided the game.
"I was really focused on my step and lining up my field goals before the snap, especially for my 41-yarder," Santangelo said. "The three- to four-minute mark was concerning with the wind, but I did what I had to do to accomplish the task at hand.
"The 'D' did an awesome job and that gives us a lot of confidence. This win has already helped with the morale and camaraderie of the team."
The Prospect defensive front held Wheeling to 61 yards in the first half and was able to snag three of the six fumbles by the Wildcats.
The Knights fumbled eight times and lost four of them. Daniel Larson had two recoveries while defensive backs Anthony Burkhardt and Nick Ergastolo each had one.
"We've struggled at times this year and it's unfortunate," said Prospect coach Mike Sebestyen. "The 'D' has been put in a lot of bad positions, but they go back to work and bail us out. The seniors have played hard and done really well."
Although Prospect (2-5, 1-2) had its own issues on offense, junior tailback Michael Shafis gave the Knights a strong performance.
He scored from 2 yards out late in the second quarter for Prospect's first TD. The junior workhorse finished with 107 yards on the ground on 28 carries. Santangelo added his 41-yard kick soon after Shafis scored.
Even though Sebestyen was happy with the team win, he still hopes to fine tune the offensive issues that plague Prospect.
"We didn't show up against Highland Park but I was much happier against Rolling Meadows and Buffalo Grove," Sebestyen said of the past three games. "I've been doing this for a while and the offense is not supposed to go backward. It's a good hard win for us, and we have to continue to move forward."
Santangelo added his second field goal as time expired in the third quarter.
Wheeling found an opportunity to rally late in the fourth quarter.
Senior defensive lineman Freddie McLeod recovered a fumble to set the Wildcats up at the Prospect 25. Moments later, junior quarterback Michael Best extended on a dive to the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown.
The Wildcats (1-6, 0-3) had one more to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
Even though they had a short field to work with, the Wildcats turned over the ball on downs and Prospect regained possession. The Knights celebrated after a few victory kneel-downs.
Wheeling has dropped four straight, but the Wildcats scored for the first time in seven quarters on Friday.
"It doesn't matter about the fans, the weather or any other external factors -- you still have to show up and do your job," said Wheeling coach Brian Hauck. "A couple plays we needed to happen at the right time didn't work. We've got to get it cleaned up, and that's on me.
"The 'D' was playing great but we continuously were putting them in tough spots. We need to get the offense going and put points on the board. Despite the conditions, we fought to the finish."