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INTERHALL FOOTBALL: Solid defenses dominate three games in week two

JAY FITZPATRICK, Catherine Kane, and Jack Thornton | Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Morrissey tailback Nick Klein ran for a 5-yard touchdown, the game’s only score, at the beginning of the fourth quarter to lead Morrissey past O’Neill, 6-2, Sunday.

Near the end of the third quarter, the Morrissey defense stopped O’Neill’s drive short with a fumble, giving the Manor field position deep inside O’Neill territory. A consistent Manor running game moved the ball 25 yards, culminating in the Klein touchdown.

O’Neill got the ball back at their own 35, but could not move the Manor defense.

A failed fourth and long gave Morrissey the ball at the O’Neill 36 with under 3 minutes to play. A crucial fourth-and-inches conversion by Manor quarterback Mike Spencer gave Morrissey the ability to kneel on the ball and let time – and the Mob’s comeback hopes – expire.

Although Morrissey failed to make the two-point conversion, the six points were enough to win because of Morrissey’s airtight defense.

“Our defense definitely excelled out there today,” Manor captain Klein said. Morrissey’s defense forced two turnovers, the fumble that led to the touchdown and an interception, and blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt as time ran out in the first half.

The Morrissey defense registered a shutout, as the only points O’Neill was able to put up were against the Manor’s offense. With less than three minutes remaining in the second quarter, Mob lineman Robert Ladd was able to sack Spencer in the end zone for the safety.

O’Neill’s defense also performed well in the game, recording the safety, blocking a 41-yard field goal attempt and forcing a turnover – an interception by defensive back Pat Conley.

“We played good defense out there, but we need to cut down on sloppy tackles,” O’Neill coach Mike Milligan said. “We were arm tackling too much out there.”

O’Neill’s offense also boasted a strong running game, led by tailback Braden Turner, which worked consistently well against the Manor in the first half.

O’Neill has a bye next week but plays Keough in two weeks. Morrissey will play Keough next week.

Dilllon 13, Keenan 8

The Keenan Knights came up just short on their final drive and lost their first game of the season to the Dillon Big Red Sunday.

Keenan fell behind by five when Dillon quarterback Kenny Cushing connected with A.J. Cedeno for a 15-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.

After the Big Red missed the extra point, the Knights took the ball back at their own 35 but fumbled on the first play of the drive. The Big Red were then in position to put the game away after the Keenan turnover but failed to move the ball and convert on fourth down inside the red zone.

Keenan took over with less than two minutes to go in the contest at their 16-yard line. The Knights took to the air and moved downfield to their 48 behind two completions from quarterback Rob Coly. Play was delayed, however, when a Dillon player had to be taken off the field in an ambulance. The player was down on the field for several minutes before an emergency crew arrived on the scene to provide medial assistance.

With only a minute to go, the Knights drove to the Dillon 25 with two more key completions and seemed to seal the victory when Coly connected with one of his receivers in the end zone. However, the Knights were called for offensive pass interference and, after being moved back to the 40-yard line, the Dillon defense held its ground and did not allow another completion.

Dillon captain Romeo Acosta was pleased with his team’s performance.

“This was a completely different game from last week,” Acosta said. “We just really came together out there as a team.”

The Big Red offense was anchored with a strong performance by running back Alex Duffy, who had 110 yards on the ground and rushed for a touchdown.

“Last week we had a few things go wrong, but we really got it together and just played well,” Duffy said.

Nearly all of the Dillon offensive production came from their rushing attack.

“We went back to the run and just played classic Dillon football,” Acosta said.

The Dillon offense set the tone for the game early on with a 12-play opening drive, resulting in a Duffy touchdown run. The Big Red were able to move the ball efficiently in two other drives to control the ball for most of the game and wear down the defending champion Knights’ defense.

The Knights took the lead early in the third quarter with a Dan Zanker touchdown reception but were unable to consistently establish the run against a stingy Dillon defense. Keenan captain Vince Lyzinski noted that his team’s main problem was attitude.

“We came out flat and just got outplayed.” Lyzinksi said. “They were ready, we weren’t. We need to get that intensity back, especially with a tough team like Stanford up next on the schedule.”

Alumni 9, Keough 9

Special teams hurt Alumni early, but they came through late to enable the Dawgs to gain a 9-9 tie with the Kangaroos of Keough Sunday.

Alumni kicker Andrew Breslin converted a 36-yard field goal with less than six minutes left to play to tie the game.

“I was confident in Andrew,” Alumni captain Ryan McGettigan said. “He always makes long field goals for us.”

Breslin’s field goal proved to be the final score of the game as Alumni was unable to capitalize off a late Keough fumble which leaves the Dawgs wondering what might have been had they converted the extra point on their first touchdown of the game.

Breslin was responsible for that touchdown, as well.

Lining up to punt in the first quarter, Breslin couldn’t find the handle on a slippery ball. Undeterred, he turned the botched punt to his advantage as he scrambled making multiple Keough defenders miss on his way to a 70 yard touchdown run.

Keough’s offense consisted of handing the ball to freshman running back Mike Anello early and often.

Anello accounted for nearly all of the yards gained by the Kangaroo offense, including their lone touchdown, an 80-yard scamper to put the Kangaroos up 9-6 before halftime. This play completed a huge momentum shift in Keough’s favor. It came on the first play after Dorian Inzunza sacked Alumni quarterback Kerger Truesbell for a safety immediately following a goal line stand by the Dawg defense.

Sunday’s result didn’t help either Alumni or Keough as both teams now stand at 0-1-1. To make the playoffs, each team needs to win their last two games. Keough plays Morrissey and O’Neill while Alumni plays Dillon and Stanford.

“We’re a good run-stopping team, and Dillon mainly runs the ball,” said McGettigan. “We just have to take it one game at a time.”