Rain throughout the week made the only grass field in the Mid-Suburban League seem more like a pile of mud than a football field.
Prospect coach Mike Sebestyen took a trip over to Robert Haskell Stadium on Thursday to watch the freshman team play. After the game, he walked on the field, got back into his car and smiled.
“I told our kids before we even got on the bus today that we’re mudders,” Sebestyen said. “Finally, they have given us a track that we like.”
The Knights used the conditions to their advantage, battling back from a double-digit deficit to come back and win 14-10 over Elk Grove, giving them a share of the East title with Rolling Meadows (6-2, 4-1).
“They got some great energy about them tonight and they never stopped,” Sebestyen said. “And that’s one thing that’s a hallmark of our football program. They continue to fight. We may not be perfect, but we fight.”
Elk Grove moved the ball well early behind Mikey Maize (15 carries, 83 yards) and struck first on a 22-yard field goal from Alex Tinkoff. A 5-yard touchdown run by Adam O’Malley gave the Grenadiers a 10-0 lead with 3:33 left in the first half.
But the Prospect (6-3, 4-1) defense hunkered down and allowed Elk Grove just 53 yards of offense in the second half.
“On the first couple of drives, we gave up a lot of big plays,” said Prospect linebacker Andrew Hajek, who was in the middle of nearly every play. “They were running all over us, but I like how we adjusted in the second half and came out with more energy and more fight.”
The sloppy conditions made it difficult for quarterback Devin O’Hara (43 rush yards) to slash like he typically does, but he managed to keep the Knights in the game with his arm. The senior threw for all 87 of his yards in the first half, including a 24-yard touchdown toss to Nikko Gountanis (4 catches, 65 yards) that brought Prospect within 3 just 57 seconds before halftime.
After not getting a carry in the first half, Jack Tuttle gave the Knights a huge lift in the second half, rushing for 83 yards on 6 carries. The most important was a 43-yard scamper down to the Grenadier 2-yard line. That led to a 1-yard score by O’Hara with 10:35 remaining in the game that set the final margin.
“I told Jack that I would come with him at some point and to be ready,” Sebestyen said. “He was fresh and it showed.”
Elk Grove (5-4, 3-2) appears to be on the outside looking in at a playoff spot.
“I’m disappointed, in particular for our seniors, because they deserve to go on and play in a playoff game, and we didn’t put them in a position to get there,” said Elk Grove coach Larry Calhoun.
Prospect earned its first road win of the season — and now it’s on to the second season.
“It feels good to get a piece of the East, but now it’s time for the playoffs,” O’Hara said.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.