Prospect tips Wheeling in OT
Prospect's football team entered unchartered territory when it was forced to play overtime on Friday night to keep its playoff hopes alive.
But the Knights acted like they had been there many times before.
After holding Wheeling to a 23-yard field goal on the first possession of OT, the Knights needed just three plays to reach the end zone.
It started with 4-yard runs by quarterback Jimmy Martin and running back Michael Shafis, followed by Shafis' 2-year TD dash off left tackle that gave host Prospect a dramatic 36-33 win at George Gattas Memorial Stadium.
"That was crazy," said Martin about the overtime. "I've never been part of something like that my whole life. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I've ever had."
All the Knights players rushed into the south end zone in a frenzy to celebrate with the offense as Prospect (4-4, 2-2) drew to within to one win of a possible playoff berth for the first time since 2012.
"This is huge," Martin said. "It's a program-defining win. Now we have to win next week against a good Elk Grove team. We'll have to play our best."
It was Michael Best who helped Wheeling rally from a 24-13 deficit.
The Wildcats' quarterback threw a 23-yard TD pass to Dan Provost, kicked a 23-yard field goal and then threw a 1-yard TD pass to Brandon Zettek which gave the visitors a 30-24 lead with 3:34 left in the game.
But Martin (3 TD runs) engineered a 67-yard drive, capped by his own 2-yard TD to tie the game at 30-30 (missed extra kick) with 25 seconds left in regulation.
"We kept fighting," said Wheeling coach Brian Hauck, whose team (3-5, 1-3) was also competing for a playoff berth. I'm proud of how the boys always believed and never had doubt that they couldn't come back."
Jonathan Panganiban rushed for 97 yards and scored a TD for Wheeling.
'We just kind of ran out of gas at the end and give them (Prospect) credit. They kept fighting. It was a great battle, a great football game between two competitive team, two programs trying to establish themselves. And congratulations to Dan (Deboeuf, Prospect coach) and the Knights. They got it tonight," said Hauck.
Shafis got the ball on the final two plays to finish with 134 yards rushing. Martin had 60 and Luke Zardzin 47.
"Everyone did the job, it was a team win," Shafis said. "We've got one game left that we've got to win and I'm looking forward to competing with my guys."
The guys up front -- Gary Gilmer, Eric Malinowski, Mitchell Kamp, Dan Napoleon and Caleb Smith -- also helped Martin pass for more than 134 yards.
"Our biggest focus was just playing the next 26 seconds one down at a time," Deboeuf said. "We made a few mistakes but I was proud of the guys for coming back and sticking with it against a Wheeling team that plays hard.
"This is exactly where we want to be going into Week 9. We have a chance to play for our own destiny so this is exciting."