Defense steps up as Rolling Meadows thwarts Prospect
Rolling Meadows Matt Mishler didn't have an opportunity to watch his defense. He missed a great show.
The Mustangs' defense put Prospect on its heels early as Meadows rolled past the Knights 35-14 Friday in Mount Prospect.
The win kept Rolling Meadows (7-0, 3-0) even with Hersey, a 42-14 winner over Buffalo Grove, in the Mid-Suburban East. Meadows will meet Hersey in Week 9.
"I didn't see any of the 'D'," Mishler said. "Every time they were on the field I was in the tent with the offense going over things. I expected this to be somewhat of a shootout. But what our defense did to them was unbelievable."
Matt Walas and the Meadows defense made a statement on the first series of the game.
Walas, who is a senior linebacker, picked off a pass and returned it to the Prospect 16. Just four plays later, Carson Schiller tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris DiVito and the Mustangs were up 7-0 just 2½ minutes into the game.
Rolling Meadows continued the intensity on defense.
With the defensive line of Nate Pedraza, Mick Lawlor and Jose Aleman giving the Prospect offensive line fits, it opened things up for Walas, Kevin Jacks, Brian Sroka and Sean Nolan to attack from linebacker. That group would account for 3 sacks.
"We watched tons of film," said Walas, who had 1½ sacks and knocked down a pass.
"We practiced real hard this week. We worked on playing with their high-tempo game and we were prepared for that."
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Meadows offense went to work, putting together a 9-play, 71-yard drive that culminated with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Schiller (15-of-20, 141 yards) to Daniel Sobkowicz, who made a terrific catch in the end zone to make it 14-0.
The defense forced another punt and put the offense back on the field late in the first quarter. The Mustangs hit pay dirt again when Charlie Schmidt scored on a 1-yard run to give Meadows a 21-0 lead with 1:47 left in the first quarter.
"We are all just working hard up front," Aleman said. "We just all try to do our jobs and give the linebackers and guys in the back a chance to make their plays."
Prospect (5-2, 1-2) had just 41 yards of offense until late in the first half. The Knights finally found their stride and drove to the Meadows 5 with two seconds left in the half. But a pass to the end zone fell incomplete.
To add to that momentum breaker, Meadows' Nile Oseni busted off a 72-yard scoring run on the third play of the second half to make it 28-0.
Prospect got on the board late in the third quarter on a 43-yard pass from Gary Moeller to Noah Mark. Meadows answered with a 24-yard touchdown run from Noah Wilson. The Knights closed out the scoring with a 20-yard pass from Moeller (22-of-42, 217 yards) to Tyson Splinter.
"We just didn't play well enough to win the game," Prospect coach Dan DeBeouf said. "We have to learn how to play in big games. That's where we are at in our program right now. We have come a long way in a short period of time. We need to make the next step."