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Prospect puts it in gear, drives past Wheeling
By Bill Esbrook | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 10/1/2011 1:39 AM

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Prospect needed a spark.

It got one not in spectacular fashion, but with old-school, hard-nosed, grind-it-out football.

After watching host Wheeling cut a 2-touchdown Knights' lead down to 14-12 at halftime, the visitors took the second-half kickoff and went on an 18-play, 81 yard touchdown drive, capped by a 6-yard scoring run by halfback Sam Mazukelli.

Prospect, which allowed the Wildcats only 9 offensive plays in the second half, pulled away to a 28-12 Mid-Suburban East victory.

"We got out quick, but Wheeling fought back," said Knights coach Mike Sebestyen. "We let down a little then our kids came up huge to start the third quarter."

Led by the big guys up front offensive linemen Caleb Wachsmuth, Mike Houghton, Jackson Wrede, Kevin Kern and Austin Tixier Prospect outgained Wheeling 497-164.

Knights senior quarterback Sam Frasco rushed 30 times for 144 yards and a touchdown, and threw for 236 yards and 2 TDs.

"That drive to start the third quarter brought the energy back," said the 6-foot-3, 242-pound Tixier. "We talked at halftime about stepping up and I think we did that."

Frasco opened the scoring with an 8-yard TD run, then threw a 16-yard strike to Devin O'Hara (6 catches, 63 yards) in the corner of the end zone to put the Knights up 14-0.

But Wheeling (1-5, 0-2) struck back behind a 45-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tyler Brady in the second quarter. Brady then connected on a 16-yard scoring pass to senior wide receiver Kevin Gross to bring the Wildcats within 2 points.

"We have to do a better job of understanding when we have an advantage, and build the momentum," said Sebestyen. "We've got to pour it on and not hold back."

After the opening drive of the third quarter, which included 16 run plays to only 2 pass plays, the Knights' defense forced a Wheeling 3 and out, then came up with some fireworks.

This time it was a 1-play, 81-yard drive as Frasco connected on a slant to senior Shane Joyce, who broke free and outraced the Wheeling defense to the end zone.

"I didn't know Shane could run away from people like that," joked Sebestyen. "I guess he can."

The Knights (3-3, 2-0) defense clamped down in the second half as Wheeling had only 14 yards of offense and no first downs in the final two quarters.

Brady ran for 61 yards and threw for 74 for the Wildcats while safety Leo Giordano was all over the field on defense.

Joyce finished with 147 receiving yards for the winners, but the talk was all about "the drive."

"That got us going," said Tixier. "It was a momentum-changer."