Prospect outlasts Hoffman Estates
For those prep football fans looking forward to the anticipated high-scoring game in Mount Prospect on Friday night, they got their wish.
At least until the final quarter of the Knights' 35-27 win over visiting Hoffman Estates at the George Gattas Memorial Stadium that is.
Senior Gary Moeller's 63-yard screen pass to Noah Marx gave the host Knights the 35-27 lead with 1:24 left in the third quarter and that completed the scoring in the Mid-Suburban League crossover football game.
"We came in known as two high-powered offenses and we were ready for a shootout," said Moeller, who was 7-of-16 for 195 yards. "But we just came here to play hard and try to win. It's a huge momentum booster to start 2-0."
Luke Zardzin started the game's scoring with TD runs of 2 and 10 yards in the first quarter for a 13-0 Prospect lead.
The junior running back finished with 3 touchdowns and his first 200-plus rushing game, racking up 242 yards on 31 carries.
"Luke is amazing," Moeller said. "He's a grinder, a great player. And we got a great job by the big boys up front who made it easy for us."
Those boys are Sebastian Swistak, Matt Pankauskas, Armen Surenian, Micah Sahakian and Sam Tsagalis.
"I love them," Zardzin said of his O-line. "They played so well. I barely got touched. It was easy for me. It's really fun to play with those guys."
The guys on the other side of the ball -- Miki Mihov, Jack Friedrichs and Chandler Dorado -- helped spark the Knights' defense, which got a big interception from Jake Winski and a clutch sack by Adam Mekky which helped seal the win in the final minutes.
"The defense played really well," said Prospect coach Dan DeBoeuf. "They bailed us out, especially when we started sputtering in the second quarter."
The Hawks rallied from the 13-0 deficit with Jojo Lovelace throwing TD passes of 65 and 40 yards to Jashawn Johnson to take a 14-13 lead at the break.
Hoffman (1-1) went ahead 21-13 on a 17-yard TD run by Mekhi Williams (89 yards rushing for the game) that capped a four-play 58-yard drive to start the second half.
But Prospect answered with a 1-yard TD run (2-point conversion pass to Marx) and a 27-yard TD pass from Moeller to Matt Meyer for a 28-21 lead with 4:29 left in the period.
A 1-yard TD run by Hoffman's Max Lock and the big screen pass to Marx culminated the 35-point third -quarter scoring.
"Even though our defensive backs gave up some plays they kept battling back," DeBoeuf said.
"And Luke is great crutch to lean on for our offense. Every time I want to pass, our offensive line coach Tim Beishir is like, 'give it to Luke'. He's a good reminder."
Hoffman was hurt by 14 penalties for 106.5 yards.
"We had a lot of big plays and lot of big mistakes," said Hawks coach Tim Heyse. "We did some things we weren't supposed to do and it hurt us in the long run.
"But I was happy about bunch of things. We didn't quit. We battled back, gave up the lead and battled back again.
You've got to tip your hat to Prospect. They made more plays in the long run. They are very well coached, play hard, and with a lot of energy."
"We we have a lot of respect for coach Heyse and his staff," DeBoeuf said. "They've done a real good job with their program over the last couple of years. We talked all week that if we want to be a 'next tier' team, we've got to beat a 'next tier' team like Hoffman Estates so we're really happy with that for sure."