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Prospect looks for defense to lead the way
By Marty Maciaszek | Daily Herald Staff

Senior receiver-defensive back Teddy Ford will try to help Prospect repeat as Mid-Suburban East champions.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Prospect senior two-way lineman Austin Tixier.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Prospect senior Sam Frasco makes the move from wide receiver to quarterback this year.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Prospect's quarterback Sam Frasco is in the number one position for the first time this year.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Prospect's wide receiver Nick Meersman.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Prospect's football elite consists of Sam Frasco, Mike Etchingham, Austin Tixier, Nick and Chris Meersman with Teddy Ford.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Prospect middle linebacker Mike Etchingham will be a key to its defensive success.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Prospect's running back Chris Meersman.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Prospect's wide receiver Teddy Ford.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Prospect's defensive lineman Austin Tixier on the blocks.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

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Published: 8/26/2011 12:19 AM

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With the only returning starter on offense at a different position it's clear what Prospect plans to rely on this season.

It's what the Knights have invariably relied on during their most successful seasons. What they could count on last year en route to the Mid-Suburban East football title and a 13-7 second-round playoff loss to Class 7A runner-up Lake Zurich.

"Last year the defense is what made things happen for us," said first-year head coach Mike Sebestyen, who assisted Brent Pearlman during the entirety of his successful 12-year tenure. "That defense is what keeps us in the game and allows us the opportunity to win the Lake Zurich game.

"I think this defense will be in the same type of vein. We'll play Prospect-style defense attacking and moving to the football."

Defensive tackle Austin Tixier returns for his third varsity season and Sebestyen likes the potential of junior end and varsity returnee Colin Olson.

Mike Etchingham moves from the strong side to middle linebacker and replaces all-area pick Grant DePalma.

"He's gone from someone where every day Brent was screaming his name," Sebestyen said with a laugh, "to right now he's telling us what we should be doing and how we should be lining up.

"He's trying to be Grant and he understands the defense. It's fun to watch how he's grown."

The secondary is filled with guys who will also play key roles at the offensive skill spots in Sam Frasco, Devin O'Hara, Teddy Ford and Nick Meersman.

As for Frasco, instead of catching passes, he will be throwing them this year to O'Hara, Ford, Meersman, Shane Joyce and Jack Tuttle.

"It will be interesting to see him change positions similar to what we did with Steve (all-area pick Dazzo) last year," Sebestyen said. "He's taken the time to become a student of the game. He finds ways to make plays like he did at receiver last year."

Frasco's speed makes him a running threat along with the tailback duo of Chris Meersman and sophomore Sam Mazukelli. Etchingham and Tixier will also play up front as avoiding injuries will be crucial with a roster in the mid-30s.

"We're going to have a lot of work to do and we'll be very young early in terms of experience," Sebestyen said. "We're going to find out really quickly what type of team we are and that's good."

Knights at a glance

Coach: Mike Sebestyen (first year)

Last year: 9-2, 5-0 (East champs, 7A second round)

Probable starters

OFFENSE

Pos. Name Ht./Wt. Yr.

QB Sam Frasco 5-11/173 Sr.

TB Chris Meersman 5-8/160 Sr.

T Mike Etchingham 6-1/181 Sr.

G Austin Tixier 6-2/242 Sr.

C Kevin Kern 5-11/195 Jr.

G Caleb Wachsmuth 6-1/201 Sr.

T Mike Houghton 6-4/201 Jr.

WR Devin O'Hara 6-4/174 Jr.

WR Teddy Ford 6-3/174 Sr.

WR Nick Meersman 5-10/164 Sr.

WR Shane Joyce 6-0/163 Sr.

DEFENSE

Pos. Name Ht./Wt. Yr.

DE Colin Olson 6-3/212 Jr.

DT Austin Tixier 6-2/242 Sr.

DT Shola George 6-0/240 Jr.

DE Mike Mayreck 6-0/198 Sr.

OLB Andrew Hajek 6-1/179 Jr.

MLB Mike Etchingham 6-1/181 Sr.

OLB Shane Joyce 6-0/163 Sr.

CB Nick Meersman 5-10/164 Sr.

CB Teddy Ford 6-3/174 Sr.

S Devin O'Hara 6-4/174 Jr.

S Sam Frasco 5-11/173 Sr.