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Rivalries heat up Sunday

Joe Meixell | Friday, September 17, 2004

It’s the time of year again.

Blood, guts and glory running within the halls of the Notre Dame men. It is time for interhall football.

On Sunday at 2 p.m. on Riehle North Field, Siegfried and Knott will come face to face for the first event of the Flanner Cup, the annual competition between the rival dorms.

The teams have prepared with practices, scrimmages and reviewing strategies. Both squads are ready for a win.

“Beyond [a win], we are hoping to run the ball efficiently and to have good defense,” Knott Hall captain Drew Donovan said. “We want to look sharp.”

Siegfried hopes to establish itself as a team.

“We’re focusing on ourselves,” Siegfried captain John Hughes said. “The biggest challenge is getting in the flow of the game.”

While Siegfried tries to defend its title, they must overcome the loss of many seniors, including star quarterback Bill Bingle. But they, like many teams, are rebuilding and concentrating on what is in front of them this weekend.

Knott, on the other hand, is trying to build on last year’s success in the regular season. They suffered a loss to Kennan in the first round of playoffs in 2003, ending their season. Donovan said his team is driven to overcome that early playoff exit and play great Saturday.

For both teams, unity and working together are helping their strength and spirit.

“We have a new coach,” Donovan said. “Our coach is helping us focus and come together as a team.”

Marques Bolden and Pat Manning on the defensive line are some Sigfried players to watch. Offensive lineman Kevin Phipps will provide bulk upfront for the Ramblers.

“He is a force to be reckoned with,” Hughes said.

On the Juggs side, Joe McCarthy, Jesse Greenwood and Mike Peters will lead the way. Along with those three, are two third-year returnees who have been called “unsung heroes” by their captain. They are offensive line members Patrick Varley and Jason Creek.

Both halls are pumped and prepared for the game this Sunday. It should be a great battle between these two rivals.

St. Edward’s vs. Zahm

Both St. Edwards and Zahm would like to get their season off to a good start, as last year they were looking up at Siegfried and Knott at the top of the Blue League standings. St. Edward’s and Zahm both feel as if they have improved immensely this year, and are ready to give the Ramblers and Juggernauts a run for their money this season.

Defense should be the strength of the Stedsmen this year.

“We have a good overall team defense,” Stedsmen Matt Webber said.

Nick Stober and Mike Giampa, both returning four-year starters, will be playing on both sides of the ball this Sunday.

“Those two guys are the anchor of our team,” Webber said.

Also be on the lookout for captain Joe Pomeranke, who is a leader for the Stedsmen.

As for Zahm, captain Kyle Jones feels that the Rabid Bats will be much improved this year. “We seem to have a lot of freshmen and seniors on the team this year, but we still expect to be a lot better than before,” Jones said. The Rabid Bats have been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round three years in a row.

“Be on the lookout for our fullback, Eric Tarnowski,” Jones said.

Another Rabid Bats to watch this week should be star wideout Mike Russell.

“The strength of our team this year is going to be our offensive line, which is especially strong this season,” Jones said.

Looking around the league it seems as if most of the other dorms have small, but quick, offensive lines this season, so Zahm will have to wait to see if its strength prevails.

The two teams open up their respective seasons this Sunday at 3 p.m. The game will be played at Riehle field.

Morissey vs. O’Neill

Aaron Ronsheim expects success.

The Morrissey captain has seen his team defeated in the playoffs by eventual champion Siegfried each of the past two seasons. This year, the Manorites want to build on past accomplishments, and their quest begins this Sunday at 3 pm against the O’Neill Angry Mob at Riehle Field South.

“Hopefully we can get over the hump,” Ronsheim, whose team went 3-0-1 and beat Zahm in the opening round of the playoffs last year, said. “We want to make a statement this year.”

As for the Mob, they come into this fall looking to improve on last season’s 1-3 record.

“Our goal this year is to win at least two games and get into the playoffs, which O’Neill’s never done before,” Mob captain Michael Milligan said.

In order to start their resurgence, however, O’Neill will have to deal with a Morrissey squad that is expected to be as potent offensively as it is stingy defensively.

The Manorites return seven starters from a defense that didn’t allow a point until their eleventh quarter of football last year, although they did lose middle linebacker Brian Dinsmore to graduation.

Nevertheless, Ronsheim is optimistic.

“Our defense has been the strongest part of the team since I’ve been here,” he said. “Our defense carries us. We hope it can cause turnovers and put our offense in a strong position.”

Offensively, last year’s starting quarterback, Marty Mooney now plays for the Notre Dame football team, but 2002 starter Pete Sprietzer returns from a semester studying in France to lead the Manorite offense. Sprietzer’s favorite targets should include senior tight end Dave Purcell and wide receiver Tim Kenney.

Sprietzer will also be helped out by star halfback Nick Klein, a four year starter.

“We expect [Klein] to be our workhorse,” Ronsheim said.

Lead blocking for Klein will be his brother Steve. The all-Klein backfield has already impacted the game plan of one opponent.

“We’re planning on using a 5-3 defense to stop the run,” Milligan said. “Morrissey will give us a big test, so we’ll find out how good our defense really is.”

The young Angry Mob defense is expected to substitute liberally due to its inexperience and the reputation of Morrissey’s offense.

“We’re going to get a good rotation of guys in there, because we don’t know who can play where yet,” Milligan said.

Offensively, O’Neill is expected to be conservative and try to control the clock with halfback Bradon Turner and fullback Brian Stein.

“We’re going to try to establish the run,” Milligan said, “If that works, we’ll open things up and try a few passes.”

Keough vs. Alumni

A huge loss is never easy to forget. Keough learned this the hard way last season after being crushed by Alumni 27-0 last year.

With the teams set to butt heads again in Sunday afternoon’s 2 p.m. season opener, the Kangaroos will take the field with one thing on their mind – revenge.

“We brought [last year’s loss] up to our players,” Keough captain and quarterback Brian Kusper said. “They know that that can’t happen again. We had more intense practices this week because of that. It’s our turn this year.”

The Kangaroos feel that the key to securing this revenge on Sunday will lie in the trenches. Keough wants to dominate the line of scrimmage on both ends of the ball.

“If we can control the line, we can control the game,” senior fullback Dan Degen said.

This might be easier said than done. Alumni captain AJ Remen believes that the offensive and defensive lines are the strengths of his team. The Dawgs return six key starters along the lines, including senior standouts Dan O’Connor and Pat Higgins.

Outside of excellent line play, Alumni will rely on the leadership and experience of several seasoned veterans. Remen, a senior cornerback, and sophomore linebacker Matt Augustine will anchor a stingy Alumni defensive unit.

On the other side of the ball, the Dawgs will rely on several fresh faces at key skill positions. Freshman quarterback Brent Locey will lead Alumni’s attack.

“Locey is a real big kid with great potential,” Remen said.

Freshman wideout Willie D. Williams and freshman running back Bret Shapot will join forces with Locey to form a potent offensive threat for the Dawgs.

Slowing down this Alumni offense will be a focal point for Keough.

“The big key to the game is going to be our defense,” Kusper said. “If we can make them throw the ball, we feel we will have a real good chance.”

Kusper is not as concerned with Keough’s offense, and for good reason. Kusper, Degen, and returning wide receiver Nick Dobbertin lead an experienced and talented Kangaroo attack that could provide problems for the Alumni defense.

As the season rapidly approaches, both squads are concentrating on one goal – the chance to play for the championship in Notre Dame Stadium.

“We are looking to make the playoffs and hopefully get a game in the stadium,” Degen said. Remen also cited a single objective for Alumni this season – to get to the championship.

With both teams clearly focused and confident, the meeting between Alumni and Keough should make for quite a battle.

Fisher vs. Sorin

A new year of Notre Dame interhall football kicks off this Sunday, with Fisher taking on Sorin at 1 p.m. at Riehle field.

The Green Wave will look to avenge last year’s loss to the Otters in a closely contested game that came down to one kick – a game winning field goal as time expired. The 3-0 final score truly reflected the struggles that each offense had against two very tough defenses.

Statistically speaking, Fisher dominated last year’s game, but untimely interceptions essentially led to Sorin’s final and decisive possession.

Several Sorin freshmen stepped up then, and they will look to do so again after a year’s experience under their belts.

Both teams will likely try and get the offenses going early, while trying to avoid the mistakes and missed opportunities that plagued each during the last meeting.

Fisher captain Jerremy Moreno and returning Sorin captain Collin O’Keefe will try to lead his respective team to victory in this opener.