Morrissey and Dillon set to clash
Chris Khorey, Mike Laskey and Mike Tennant | Friday, October 1, 2004
Morrissey looked like championship contenders after their season-opening 14-6 win over O’Neill, but suddenly they are searching for answers after losing 18-7 to Keenan in Week 2. This week’s opponent, Dillon, has some questions of its own, and the direction of both teams going into the last weeks of the season and the playoffs will be decided when they square off at 2 p.m. Sunday at the south Riehle Field.Dillon’s offense was totally shut down by Stanford, as the traditionally-potent ground attack was held to 68 yards and only 2.4 yards per carry. “Not seeing that whole game speed [because we had an opening bye] makes a huge difference,” Big Red captain Mike Roaldi said after the game. “I think we were a much better team on offense in the second half.”Dillon did improve after the half, recovering from a dismal negative-2 rushing yards in the first two quarters. “We don’t think Morrissey is as strong as Stanford against the run,” Roaldi said. “We had some backs who didn’t know the offense very well. This week they should make their cuts better.”Roaldi is also expecting to take advantage of Morrissey’s undersized defensive backs.”They have some small defensive backs. [Aaron] Ronsheim, their captain, is quite small,” he said. “We have some tall receivers that we’re going to try to isolate against them.”The Manorite pass defense has been suspect this season. They gave up a 48-yard gain on a waggle pass that led to O’Neill’s only score and allowed 174 yards through the air against Keenan. After looking impressive against O’Neill, the Manorites failed to take advantage of four Keenan fumbles.”We came out strong in the first half and forced some turnovers, but Keenan was able to recover,” Ronsheim said after the game.Alumni vs. O’Neill With fall break fast approaching, the push towards the interhall football playoffs begins this weekend with an exciting slate of games, including Sunday’s Alumni-O’Neill match-up in the men’s gold league. Alumni heads into Sunday’s game, scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Riehle Fields, with a 1-0 record after defeating Keough 6-3 in the season’s first week. The Dawgs secured the victory on the game’s final play.Coming off their own 7-6 victory over Keough in Week 2, moving its record to 1-1, O’Neill is looking for a boost in offensive production against a tough Alumni squad. “Our offense has been the team’s most disappointing aspect so far,” captain Mike Milligan said. After a week of strong practices, Milligan is confident the offense will display needed improvement against Alumni. “The effort has been great, and everybody’s been giving 100 percent,” the captain said. “Our strength is running the football.”The play of its special teams was one factor that keyed the Angry Mob’s victory over Keough.With such a short regular season, it can be difficult for any team to establish an identity and develop team chemistry, essential aspects for success. After its first two games, it seems like the O’Neill team is still working on getting to know themselves. “It feels like we have a good team,” Milligan said. “But it all comes down to execution. ” Keenan vs. KeoughLast week Keenan and Keough combined for 294 yards and three touchdowns through the air. This might not be a good weekend for defensive backs.As the Knights and Kangaroos square off Sunday at Riehle field, both teams will again look toward their respective quarterbacks for leadership on offense. Keenan sophomore Eric Laumann is coming off a banner week in which he threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third late in the game. Senior captain Pat Downey believes Laumann will again be the key for the Knights’ offense.”Eric had a really great game; he managed it well,” Downey said. “It all starts with him.”Keough will also look to its quarterback for leadership this week. After throwing the ball 25 times for 120 yards and a touchdown last week, senior Brian Kusper could give the stingy Keenan defense some problems.Kusper would like to see his Kangaroos come out with a more balanced attack though.”We’d like to run more, but we’re going to have to look at the defense we’re up against,” the senior quarterback said. “Our defense as a whole will be the key.”The Knights’ defense has played together so far this season, and the Knights will look for more of the same Sunday.