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Men’s Interhall : Smash mouth football

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, October 10, 2006

With less than a minute to play, a reverse to Eddie Gutierrez allowed Zahm to convert a two-point conversion and seal a 14-13 victory over Siegfried Sunday in men’s Interhall action.

“We actually put in that play last week,” Zahm coach Rich Petty said. “We saw that teams were overplaying the run and we needed a play to take advantage of that. The boys really executed it to perfection.”

The two-point conversion capped a two-play, 45-yard drive that all occurred in the final two minutes. Much credit goes to Zahm quarterback Sean Wieland, who made two athletic passes in the drive, including a 25-yard touchdown completion to Gutierrez. Wieland finished 7-for-12 with 93 yards and a touchdown.

Zahm drew first blood on a Gutierrez fumble recovery returned 35 yards for a touchdown. But the Rabid Bats didn’t have a place kicker and failed to convert their two-point attempt.

However, on their third drive of the game, the Ramblers established themselves offensively with a 60-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Max Young to receiver Gary Burke – Young’s first completion of the game. Siegfried converted the extra point attempt and took the one point lead into halftime.

A defensive struggle ensued until late in the fourth quarter when Young connected with Burke for Siegfried’s second touchdown of the game, putting the Ramblers up 13-6 with a couple minutes to play. The Rabid Bats’ special teams came up big and blocked the extra point attempt.

From there, Wieland and Gutierrez finished them off.

“We played a lot better today,” Wieland said. “I threw a bad pick in the fourth quarter but the team didn’t let that get them down.”

Petty agreed with his senior captain.

“I’m real proud,” Petty said. “They didn’t quit. Today was a proving day and it reinforced that we’re a good team.”

Carroll 9, Knott 0

On Carroll’s first drive of the game, quarterback Cory Wilmont and running back Mike Johnson marched the offense down the field on a 12-play, 70-yard drive that was capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Wilmont to sophomore receiver Ryan Frost.

The touchdown put the Vermin up for good against Knott as Carroll won.

Carroll took the momentum from that drive and let it build defensively. Two plays after Frost’s touchdown grab, Johnson, who doubles as a safety, picked off Knott quarterback Justin Betz with a minute left in the half. Betz finished 4-for-10 for 35 yards and an interception.

The second half began with an offensive lull with four consecutive offensive series and four straight punts.

But the fourth punt proved disastrous for the Juggerknotts. Due to poor field position and a low snap, Knott’s punter was forced to catch the ball with a knee down in his own end zone, resulting in a safety.

That safety put the Vermin up nine and put the game out of reach as the Juggerknotts simply could not get the offense working.

“We played well today,” Carroll captain Mike Versagli said. “Our offensive line and our defense played especially well. Our team is successful because we have a very good coach and a lot of experience.”

Carroll coach Mark Bennett was also pleased with his team’s play but cited the constant need to improve.

“We took care of business today,” he said. “We played alright but we need to keep improving if we’re going to do well in the playoffs.”

Dillon 21, Alumni 14

The Big Red ground game controlled Sunday’s contest as Dillon running back Alex Duffy rushed for 196 yards and three touchdowns as the Big Red won the South Quad clash

Dillon’s rushing offense was so dominant that they did not attempt a pass in the second half. Duffy, who rushed for touchdowns of 54, 50 and 35 yards, credited his offensive line.

“The line was making holes, so we had no reason to pass,” Duffy said. “We were getting five yards a pop and we felt we could convert third and longs running. I haven’t seen holes like that all year.”

The Dawgs offense showed some promise early. A multi-faceted rushing game, in which quick running back Brett Shapot complemented the bigger Alex Lowe, kept Dillon’s defense guessing. By the second half, however, Dillon had the Alumni rush offense scoped.

“They always ran to the tackles, so we started slanting to the strong side,” said Big Red co-captain and cornerback Justin Figueredo. “We noticed what they were doing and adapted.”

Alumni struck first in the second quarter after a Dillon fake punt attempt failed and gave the Dawgs the ball on the Dillon 15 yard line. A pass interference call in the end zone gave Alumni a first and goal on the six, which set up a Shapot touchdown run. The point after attempt was no good.

On the third play of Dillon’s next drive, Duffy broke loose up the middle of the field for a 54-yard touchdown, and the successful PAT conversion made the score 7-6.

After Dillon forced a three-and-out on Alumni’s first possession in the second half, Duffy took the handoff on Big Red’s next play from scrimmage an took it 50 yards for the touchdown.

Alumni’s next possession was an eight-play drive resulting in a 64-yard touchdown pass from quarterback John Lauinger to tie the game at 14-14.

But Dillon immediately responded with their own eight-play drive that ended in a 35-yard Duffy touchdown run to seal the victory.

Not only did the Big Red rushing game dominated against Alumni, but Dillon’s defense also came up strong in key moments in the second half, including stuffing a fourth-and-one attempt by the Dawgs.

“We felt our defense was stopping them,” Figueredo said. “We have confidence in our team.”

Keenan 19, Stanford 8

Stanford never had a chance.

On their first play from scrimmage, Griffins quarterback Brian Salvi’s pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Knights safety Adam Fischer. Although the point-after attempt was missed, that play set the tone for the game as the Knights went on to win.

“That was a big play to get us started,” Keenan captain Matt Gibson said.

From there, Keenan continued to dominate the game. After missing a field goal and then forcing Stanford to punt, Keenan put together a 10-play, 90-yard drive that ended in a 25-yard touchdown run by tailback Alex Gonzalez – who accounted for 80 yards of the drive. Another missed PAT kept the score 12-0.

“Our line works very hard, and we focus on the run,” Gibson said. “We condition by ourselves every practice. But Gonzalez was amazing.”

Stanford was too mistake-prone to produce results. Salvi threw three interceptions and fumbled on a sack, giving the Knights possession on the Griffin six-yard line.

A blocked punt gave Keenan the ball on Stanford’s 36-yard line.

Stanford was able to find the end zone once on a 30-yard pass down the right sideline. The two-point conversion run was successful, but Stanford’s next three drives ended in a punt and two interceptions.

Gonzalez rushed 15 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns. The offensive line and fullbacks got great extension to the outside on every run, clearing lanes for him to run through.

“We had guys making plays. We focus on the run and defense,” Gibson said. “We out worked them.”

Fisher 3, Sorin 0

Neither Fisher nor Sorin could get anything going offensively until Fisher’s fourth-and-10 conversion set up a 23-yard field goal by Thomas Sullivan – the only score of the game.

For the first six possessions, both teams lacked a first down conversion. The first time Fisher moved the chains didn’t come until the fourth quarter when the Green Wave converted a fourth-and-10 on a pass from quarterback Kevin Rabil to Pat Donnelly.

“We had a play we thought would work,” Fisher coach Ryan Bradel said. “We were in four-down territory, because we were outside of field goal range. We have confidence in our offense, and we had to go for the win.”

Fisher’s defense allowed only 57 total yards, forced two interceptions and recovered a fumble. This didn’t surprise Bradel.

“We were running the same stuff,” he said. “We mixed in some more looks on defense at the end when we knew they were passing. We swarmed to the ball, hit hard, and forced turnovers. We put our best athletes on defense, and let them go out and make plays.”

Sorin had two possessions in the fourth quarter to try and put something together, but both resulted in interceptions by Pat Gotobeski.

Although the Green Wave won, Fisher’s offense was stagnant. The offensive line could not get any push and wasn’t able to clear any room for the running game.

“Our offensive line missed some blocks,” Bradel said. “They played really well in pass coverage, they didn’t allow a sack all day, which I’m proud of. But going in we knew Sorin’s run defense would be tough.”

Other offensive miscues -including dropped passes and a fumble – made it difficult for Fisher to put up any more points.

“We need to work on offensive execution,” Bradel said. “We have the athletes and the game plan. We need it to work like a well-oiled machine.”

Morrissey 20, Keough 0

In its final game before the postseason, Morrissey soundly defeated Keough Sunday afternoon, leaving Keough winless this season.

Coming out quickly and scoring on a deep pass on the first drive of the game, it was apparent that the Manorites were not overlooking their opponents. Morrissey controlled the tempo and the line of scrimmage for the rest of the first half, taking a 13-0 lead into the break.

Morrissey captain Joey Gemino knew the team’s solid running game and size up front was a key in establishing the big lead.

“Steve Klein, Brian Pieh, and Nick Bencomo really lead the way for our rushing game,” he said. “Our offensive line really made things easy for them. The big guys deserve some love, Mike Kizer, Cole Davis, Tony Cunnigham, Spencer White and Joe Walker.”

The Manorites came out focused again in the second half, but Keough kept it tight throughout the third quarter.

A late score was enough to deflate any comeback hopes the Kangaroos may have possessed.

While Morrissey has the postseason to look forward to, Keough is left with just the memories of their season, the last for senior tri-captains Steve Humphrey, Tom Chesnick, and Chaz Arnold.

Joey Gemino couldn’t be more proud of the way his players performed this regular season.

“I will always be apart of this team. This team will always be a part of me, indefinitely,” he said. “I know now that this team will never shake me, this team will always be my baby.”

Morrissey looks forward to postseason play while also hoping for the recovery of one of its team leaders – John Bush – who sustained an injury during the regular season.