Prospect steamrolls Reavis in 7A playoff opener
Charlie Knee didn't play football until he reached high school.
"I always thought about it in middle school, but I never made it happen," said Prospect's junior outside linebacker.
"Then all my friends said 'let's play football' and I said 'why not.'"
Knee sure helped make things happen when No. 5-seeded Prospect (9-1) opened play in the Class 7A state playoffs with a 62-13 triumph over No. 28 Reavis (4-6) at George Gattas Stadium on Friday night. Prospect will face St. Rita in the second round next week.
Knee collected a sack to end the first, an interception to start the second quarter and a fumble recovery less than four minutes later that led to one of the Knights' 7 touchdowns in the first half.
The pickoff and fumble recovery were the first of his career.
"This was a lot of fun," said Knee, who played basketball, baseball and hockey before he started football. "Everyone did their jobs and it just happened to be me who made a few of those plays. It feels good to get the first playoff win out of the way."
"Unbelievable," said Prospect coach Dan DeBoeuf of Knee's performance. "Charlie played incredibly. Hats off to him. He is a super hard-working guy and a great team guy. To see him kind of speaking at the right time is exciting."
With Prospect linemen Tommy Johl, Malachi Tolliver, Andrew Heiss, Chance Rolfe and Olasubomi Sulaimon paving the way, quarterback Brad Vierneisel was 7-of-8 passing for 151 yards and 5 touchdown passes in the first half giving the Knights a commanding 49-7 lead at intermission.
After Reavis went three and out on its first possession, Vierneisel needed just three plays to reach the end zone, finding Frank Covey on a 14 yard pass with 9:03 left on the clock.
Reavis never got a chance to answer as Adrian Kakareko intercepted Reavis' first pass and returned it back to the Rams' 12 yard line.
This time, Vierneisel needed just one play to reach pay dirt, connecting with Jake Parisi on a 12-yard TD strike. Covey's run out of the wildcat for the 2-point conversion made it 15-0 Prospect with 9:03 left.
Reavis got into the Knights' territory for the only time in the half three plays later on a quarterback draw as Nick Gomez raced 66 yards up the middle to cut the deficit to 15-7.
Prospect went on to score 34 straight points before half to prompt a running clock for the second half.
The big rally started with rushing TDs, including a 6 yard scamper by Gavin Flanagan, and a 1-run TD run by Noah Easter on a scoring drive in which he carried 5 times for all 54 yards,
The next three scores were Vierneisel TD passes to Parisi (34 yards), Gabriel Smarduch (30 yards) and Covery (30 yards), the last with 1:42 left. Verniesel has thrown for more than 2,800 yards this season.
"We watched them on film and we knew they could really put a lot of teams in a bind offensively," said Reavis coach Tim Zasada, who has guided the Rams to the playoffs six times in his 11 seasons. "They are multitalented. Their quarterback is great and you kind of have pick your poison in what you want to do. We didn't have much for them,"
The Rams also didn't have their starting quarterback (concussion) along with a wide receiver and linebacker who were injured,
"This is an intimidating place to play at and we are banged up," Zasada added. "Our quarterback tonight (starting wide receiver) had four days of practice so this is kind of what you get. All three kids are MVPs for us and played both ways.
"But we have a lot of pride. It doesn't matter who we play, we try to do our best. Prospect should be happy. They have a really nice school and a lot of great fans who come out. They are very talented and well coached. It's going to be enjoyable to see them move on. I think they're going to make a nice run."
Prospect scored twice in the second half with 10 and 2-yards TD runs by Ivan Liu and Christian Phillipas. Liu rushed for 73 yards in the second half.
"It's great that he (Liu) got to do a lot of great things," DeBoeuf said. "He's a senior who has played in quite a few games like this. He is really a guy who is the heart and soul of our team. Maybe he doesn't always get the snaps on Friday nights but he is a huge leader for us. He is a huge work out guy for us and a multisport guy as a wrestler in the winter.
"Our message all week ws that we just wanted to play our best brand of football so we could get another week and build on it,"