Danny Minogue wound up with a feature role among Lake Zurich's defensive cast of characters Saturday night.
Which was a fairly remarkable feat considering Minogue was wearing a big blue cast on his right arm because of a broken wrist suffered in Week 6 against Stevenson. Then Minogue missed the last three regular-season games after having his appendix removed.
But Minogue's interception with 2:13 to play was one of 3 turnovers which helped No. 5 Lake Zurich (10-1) hold on to a 14-7 Class 7A second-round playoff victory at No. 4 Prospect's Gattas Stadium on Saturday night.
"I'm feeling great and I'm excited to be back," Minogue said after his second interception of the season. "It's the best game on earth."
One the Bears get to play again next weekend with a road quarterfinal against top-seed Simeon (11-0), which outlasted Schaumburg 55-50.
And an interception by sophomore Grant Soucy with 1:06 to play ended the coaching career at Prospect (9-2) for Brent Pearlman. He ecided to step down before the season and finished at 104-34 in 12 years with three 7A state titles.
Prospect was threatening to keep its season alive when it drove from its 19 with 3:40 left to the Lake Zurich 39. After a 1-yard loss, Minogue stepped in front of and hung onto a pass from Steve Dazzo (6-for-19, 156 yards) at the 25.
"We watched film all week and we knew the routes they run," Minogue said. "I have the zone to the outside and when the receiver got outside I followed everything my coaches told me and I was in the right spot at the right time."
A fumble recovery by Taylor Coleman set up Lake Zurich's first score 6:32 into the game on a 15-yard pass from Zach Till to Mike Schnur.
A 14-yard touchdown run by Jacob Brinlee (21 carries, 123 yard) capped a 6-play, 76-yard drive for a 14-0 lead 7:43 before halftime.
But on the second play of the second half, Dazzo hit Peter Bonahoom in stride for a 75-yard touchdown to cut Prospect's deficit in half.
"I thought we'd tie it up and go from there," said Prospect linebacker-running back Grant DePalma. "I wasn't worried coming out and once we got the touchdown and three-and-out (on the next series), I thought we'd really do something."
But a sack by Lake Zurich's Mark Tabaka ended a drive to its 44. Minogue and junior lineman William Hussey combined to stop Dazzo for a 2-yard loss on third-and-3 at the Prospect 47 with eight minutes left.
And pressure from Hussey and Tabaka forced two intentional grounding calls to add a lot of desperation to Prospect's final possession. Hussey had 2 tackles for loss and JJ Raffelson had another and Cody Cameron had a sack.
"Prospect is a great team and has a great line," Hussey said of going with various fronts and alignments. "We really worked all week - and it wasn't our regular defense. I think our defense confused them and we played great."
And there was no confusion about that against an offense averaging 452 yards a game.
"At this point in the year other teams are going to make plays and you have to respond," said Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz. "Our kids did a great job of hanging in there and they kept fighting all the way through to the end."