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MEN’S INTERHALL: Morrissey takes on O’Neill in season opener

Joe Meixell | Friday, September 23, 2005

The O’Neill Angry Mob (1-0) and Morrissey Manor (0-0) will begin the second week of games in the men’s gold division Sunday at Rihele Fields at 1 p.m.

The Manorites had a bye in Week One and hope to get their season started with a win against O’Neill. To prepare for the game, Morrissey captain Nick Klein has decided not to work on more complex schemes and plays in the weeks prior to the opener. Instead, Morrissey has returned to the fundamentals and has hoped to have perfected the basic plays that Klien hopes will get his team the victory.

Part of the reason for this simplified game plan is that Morrissey hopes to contain the O’Neill offense with their perennially good defense. Learning from O’Neill’s Week One opponent Alumni, the Manor hopes to force O’Neill to be one-dimensional on offense.

One problem Morrissey may have is their team’s youth. After having graduated many stand-out players on both sides of the football, Klien said he hopes “to see a lot of new stars out there this weekend.”

“We know that O’Neill has already beaten Alumni, who is usually a good team every year,” Klein said. “We are prepared for a tough game.”

The Angry Mob has already defeated one good team, Alumni, last week by holding them to only six points while scoring twice through the air.

“The defense’s ability to keep them to a minimum was key to the victory,” said O’Neill captain Matt Hughey. “It allowed the offense to drive down the field and get some points on the board.”

In preparation for this game against Morrissey, Hughey has been working to improve his team’s defense and has expanded the offense’s playbook so the Mob will still have some tricks up their sleeves for the Manor.

Since this is Morrissey’s first game, O’Neill will have to base their game plan more on intuition than actual game play, a definite advantage for Morrissey.

But Hughey still believes that this week has been enough time to prepare for the game.

“It’s going to be a tough battle,” said Hughey. “Both teams will be ready to win.”

Dillon vs. Keenan

The Keenan Knights look to continue their winning ways against the Dillon Big Red this Sunday at Reihle Fields at 2 p.m.

The Knights are coming off a shutout performance against Keough, where they also connected on two big touchdown passes to seal the victory.

The defending champs were impressive in their victory over the Kangaroos, but still face a long road ahead, which continues with a major contest against the Dillon Big Red. Knights captain Vince Lyzinski was quick to point out that, despite their strong performance in last week’s game, they must stay focused and not allow themselves to grow complacent.

“We did get the win, but there is still a lot of room for improvement,” Lyzinski said.

The Knights are coming off a victory where they were able to completely shut down the Keough offense. In addition, the Knights sport a potent offensive attack centered on a solid offensive line and a talented running back.

“Alex [Staffieri] is a big ol’ work-horse running back,” Lyzinski said. “We’re looking to run the ball and establish the ground game with him, and work in our passing attack, and pretty much continue from where we left off last week.”

The Knights will be facing a Dillon team that, despite losing its first contest, still brings a very solid football team to the field. The Big Red defense held the Stanford offense in check throughout the entire game before surrendering the final game-winning touchdown.

“Dillon’s a solid team, if we take them for granted, they’ll beat us,” Lyzinski said.

“We’ll be facing a tough Dillon defense and we’ll have to pick up the intensity.”

The Big Red are coming off a tough loss to the Stanford Griffins in which their offense was able to march up and down the field throughout the game but was unable to convert any of their offensive production into points. Senior captain Romeo Acosta was quick to point out that his team has some issues that need to be addressed.

“We’re working on the same problem from last year, which is getting our offense moving,” Acosta said. “We’re trying to implement a new offensive system right now and we just need to keep working to get things together.”

Keenan and Dillon each have a long way to go in the season and a win at this stage is of the utmost importance for both teams. Romeo Acosta is confident that his team is ready to face the defending champs.

“They’re probably the best team in the league and the team to beat, but we’re definitely up to the challenge,” he said.

Alumni vs. Keough

Sunday afternoon’s game between Keough and Alumni will feature two teams still trying to work out early-season difficulties.

Both teams are coming off loses in their first games, and both teams struggled mightily to move the ball. In fact, Keough was not able to make a first down until the second half of its game with Keenan in which Keenan dominated 14-0.

The Kangaroos struggled to contain Keenan’s running game behind tailback Alex Staffierei.

In Alumni’s game, the Dawgs were defeated 13-6 by the Angry Mob of O’Neill. Alumni scored the first points of the game on a touchdown pass from Kerger Truesbell to Ryan McGettigan, but the offense was silent the rest of the way, particularly with the running game. On defense, the Alumni secondary struggled allowing two touchdown passes to O’Neill’s Alex Fortunado.

“We had some confusion on assignments and exact responsibilities, so we have addressed these issues in practice this week,” said McGettigan.

Both teams are expected to rely on their running game this weekend in the hope of jumpstarting their struggling offenses.

“We know that Keough runs a 5-2, so we have been working a lot on running against that type of defense,” said McGettigan.

That strategy in mind, each team’s success will likely be determined by the performance of their running backs and offensive lines.

The teams face off at 3 p.m. at Riehle West.