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Fisher playoff hopes rest on win over Zahm

Joe Meixell | Friday, October 10, 2003

If you hear the sound of thunder on Sunday, don’t look to the skies. The Zahmbies clash with rivals from Fisher this weekend and each team is looking to storm on for a run at the playoffs

Both teams are coming off their first wins of the season and hope to continue to pick up speed toward the playoffs. A win will put the Green Wave one game away from matching last year’s 3-1 record or help Zahm even their record to 2-2.

“This game is … a huge game for us because Zahm is one of our rival dorms and it is always an intense match up,” Fisher captain Tom Gorman. “We really look forward to playing them.”

The Zahm loyalty is noticeably apparent as the team looks to make up for a playoff loss to Fisher last year. Zahm has a group that is about a quarter freshmen and is significantly strengthened by the number of returning starters framing their lines, especially on defense.

“We are rock solid at every position,” Zahm captain Mike Maimone said. “A lot of guys only have to play one way.”

Leading the defense are linebacker and co-captain Pat McGarry and freshman defensive back Kyree Blackwell.

The new talent on the offensive side has improved with experience and the focus they’ve shown in practices. Standouts include quarterback Mitch Knapke, running back Eric Tarnowski and wide receiver Mike Russell.

The Fisher team also counts on strong hall support for this game. Last year’s pre-game even included a dorm pep-rally and barbeque.

The players hope to satisfy their spectators by building off momentum after defeating defending champion Siegfried last week.

“It’s going really well because we are finally getting used to playing with each other and it certainly is going much better,” Fisher captain Tom Gorman said. “We are improving every week which is the most important part – to not be at your best at the beginning of the season, but to finish off the season at your best.”

Gorman notes Fisher’s strengths to be the defensive intensity and the balance of passing and running in the offense.

The Green Wave has a mix of upper and lowerclassmen in their ranks this year.

“They are a really good class and a lot of fun to play with because they obviously were very good in high school football as well,” Gorman said.

The game begins at 2:00 p.m. Sunday on Riehle North field.

Carroll vs. Knott

It’s tough being the little guys.

The Vermin of Carroll Hall (1-1) are all too familiar with this situation. As the smallest dorm on campus, Carroll is forced to combat teams of larger numbers. Up to half of the team’s players step up to play on both sides of the ball, estimates Carroll captain Jim Butz.

“We just have to keep everyone fresh and ready to go,” Butz said. “It’s tough on the team, but we manage.”

This past week, Carroll had a bye after a 6-0 loss to St. Ed’s. The bye provided much needed rest for the Vermin before they meet the Knott Hall Juggerknotts (1-1-1) Sunday.

“We had a chance to get all the nicks and injuries healed up,” Butz said. “We’re ready to play.”

And so is Knott, according to captain Drew Donovan.

The past two years have been rebuilding ones for the Juggs, but this year Donovan said the team has played with more confidence. Confidence will be especially necessary in Sunday’s game, Donovan said, because a win over Carroll would send the Juggs to the playoffs.

Over the past week, Knott has focused on execution, team dynamics and consistency in preparation for the game. Donovan cites consistency on the offense’s part as the Juggs’ primary weakness.

“There are times when the offense moves the ball well and there are times when the offense is discombobulated,” he said.

Both teams anticipate a hard-fought battle, despite their weaknesses. Sunday’s game will ultimately test the two teams staying power. The game will take place at 1 p.m. at Riehle North field.

Sorin vs. St. Ed’s

Sorin and St. Ed’s have had their share of excitement this year with close games decided by a field goal and tight defensive battles. On Sunday the stakes are raised as both teams fight for a playoff spot.

Sorin’s record stands at 1-2 and is looking to turn things around going into their last game. After a thrilling 3-0 win to start their season, the Otters have had problems maintaining their intensity late in the game.

“We’ve had some problems keeping the team focused, but if we win this last game we’ll have a good shot at making the playoffs,” Sorin captain Collin O’Keefe said.

St. Ed’s enters the week coming off a tough 6-6 tie against Knott. They are currently undefeated (1-1) with both games being low scoring with neither side scoring more than six points.

Key players for St. Ed’s are running back and defensive threat Mike Giampa and quarterback Chris Wagner. The team looks to stay strong on defense and create more scoring chances on offense.

“We’re going to keep up our strong running game and defense but we need to find a way to get the ball in the end zone,” St.Ed’s captain Kevin McNamara said.

Sorin also hopes to jumpstart their offense behind the strength of its wide receivers. The Otters’ offense has struggled all year, only scoring a total of 17 points.

“We need everything to come together on offense with our wide receivers leading the way,” O’Keefe said.

The game will be played Sunday at 3 p.m. at Riehle North field.