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Interhall: Fisher wins wood, stays undefeated; Zahm blanks St. Ed’s

Matt Hopke | Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fisher fought through cold, rainy weather Wednesday to give archrival Carroll its first loss of the year in a battle of the best the Blue Division has to offer.While both teams will make the postseason, the win vaults Fisher into the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and allows the Green Wave to take back the rivalry trophy, the Crooked Stick.Fisher (4-0) came out very strong on its opening drive, marching 63 yards down the field on 11 plays and finishing with a 9-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Jamie Ellis.After an injury sidelined Fisher starting running back Tom Sullivan, Ellis stepped up and played like a veteran, ripping off runs of 12, 9 and 8 yards on the drive. A missed two-point conversion kept the Green Wave lead to 6-0.But Carroll (3-1) had seen too much success this season to let one drive get in the way. The Vermin came right back with a lengthy drive of their own.Senior running back Mike Johnson, senior quarterback Cory Wilmont and senior wide receiver Paul Tassinari proved to be a formidable threesome, taking the Vermin 45 yards down the field on seven plays. Carroll scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Wilmont to Tassinari, but a missed two-point conversion sent the game to halftime tied 6-6.The third quarter was all defense with both the Vermin and the Green Wave making big stands. Perhaps the most important defensive play was a third down sack of Fisher junior quarterback Kevin Rabil, who left in an ambulance due to an apparent leg injury. Rabil’s backup, junior Pat Gotebeski, was clutch in the fourth quarter, helping the Green Wave mount a six-play, 49-yard drive that ended in another Ellis touchdown. That score was the last, giving Fisher its first win over Carroll in three years. “Tonight’s performance was pretty big for our team,” Fisher junior captain Tom Bufalino said. “We lost three starters but we kept it together and got the win. Plus, we took back the Crooked Stick.”For Fisher head coach Ryan Bradel, the victory was significant because it showed solid play on both sides, resulted in a win against an archrival and secured the Green Wave the top spot in the postseason.”I can’t describe how good it feels, especially against our archrival,” Bradel said.

Zahm 22, St. Ed’s 0The comeback story for the defending champions continues.In a must-win game, the Rabid Bats of Zahm (2-2) decisively beat St. Ed’s (0-4) to clinch third place in the Blue Division and earn themselves a playoff spot.The Rabid Bats came out firing on all cylinders, shutting down St. Ed’s first offensive drive and responding with quite a drive of their own. Due to the wet conditions, Zahm opted to pound the ball, putting the ball in the hands of junior running back Theo Ossei-Anto eight times. The drive went 52 yards and ended, predictably, with a 12-yard touchdown run from Ossei-Anto.St. Ed’s has struggled offensively this season but did not show it in its second drive of the game. The Stedsmen took the ball 44 yards to the Rabid Bats’ 1 yard-line, only to see the half end after an unsuccessful rushing attempt.After the intermission, as Stuart Scott would say, the second half was lights out. Literally.At the beginning of the third quarter, the Riehle West lights went out, cloaking the field in shadow. However, Zahm was determined, and no measly power outage was about to stop it.Two plays later, Wieland’s 26-yard bomb cut through the darkness and into the arms of Ossei-Anto. Four plays later, a flee-flicker ended in a 20-yard touchdown reception by Zahm senior receiver Matt Smallbone.Two Zahm interceptions later, the Rabid Bats found themselves deep in Stedsmen territory. Wieland hit Smallbone for his second touchdown of the game, putting the Bats up 22 and sealing the victory over the Stedsmen.Head coach Rich Petty was proud of his team’s season U-turn.”We finished strong, peaking at the right time,” Petty said. “It’s all about leadership. Our captains stepped up and led this team. We just came to play as a team tonight.”