Prospect downs Elk Grove for 5th win
All you had to do was look toward the southwest corner of the George Gattas Memorial football field to know it was a special night for Prospect football.
That's where the student body rushed onto the field after a 28-21 Mid-Suburban East triumph on Friday over Elk Grove and celebrated with their Knights, who'd just become playoff eligible for the first time since 2012.
Appropriately enough, on a night the Prospect seniors were hoping to end the six-year playoff drought, it was Senior Night.
"It's awesome," said Knights senior RB/LB Michael Shafis. "I'm so happy we came through as a team this season. We've been trying to lay the foundation. We wanted to be the team that is remembered for getting Prospect back on track and where Prospect football needs to be."
Shafis helped Prospect back on top after the Knights trailed 14-10 at intermission.
Knights senior lineman William Mikes' 11-yard quarterback sack forced a punt early in the second half.
It took the hosts (5-4, 3-2) six plays to go 54 yards, capped by Shafis' 5-yard TD run off right tackle for a 17-14 lead with 7:29 left in the third quarter.
"The offensive line did an amazing job on that drive, creating holes and making my job easier," Shafis said.
Santangelo then booted his second 27-yard field goal with 11:33 left in the final period.
Moments later, an interception by Gary Moeller set up Prospect at the Grens' 30 yard line. Martin threw a 22-yard pass to Shafis. Two plays later, Martin scored on a 1-yard run to make it 28-14 with 9:33 left in the game.
The Grenadiers (1-8, 1-4), who ended up playing eight playoff-eligible teams, kept things interesting when Ian Ridge capped a 64-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run to make it 28-21 with 3:36 left.
Prospect senior Nicholas Mariani recovered the ensuing onside kick. Prospect then ran out the clock with six rushing plays, including first down runs of 13 and 16 yards by sophomore Luke Zardzin (102 yards rushing).
Four players later, Martin (115 yards rushing and a 16-yard TD pass to Brian Doherty) was able to take a knee as time expired.
"I'm super proud of our kids," said first-year Prospect coach Dan DeBoeuf. "We knew it would be tough and come down to the end, and it did. We talked all week to our seniors about leaving their mark on the program and being the group that started things in the right direction."
Sophomore Ridge rushed for 103 yards, 2 touchdowns and he threw a 22-yard TD pass to Vinny Faciano on a trick play.
Sophomore Joey Gaskill made his debut at QB for EG.
"Our offense has kind of been struggling and we wanted to see if something new could help," said EG coach Miles Osei. "He (Gaskill does a great job. He is a competitor for a sophomore. He did a good job.'
"The offseason is now more critical now than ever. I think our seniors battled through a lot. I don't think our record showed the culture changing but these guys have come a long way since we first started. The expectation is that the younger guys keep moving forward."