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Pyros playoff hopes on the line tonight

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, October 3, 2006

PE vs. Lyons

Pasquerella East and Lyons are entering their final game of the season tonight at 9 p.m. on Riehle Field West with very different goals.

The Pyros need a win to secure a playoff berth, while the Lions are playing for pride and looking to avoid finishing with a winless regular season.

Pasquerilla East rode early offensive aggressiveness and late defensive toughness to a 13-12 win Sunday over then-undefeated Cavanagh – keeping its playoff hopes alive in the process. Meanwhile, the Lions were eliminated from any postseason consideration with a 14-0 loss to Walsh.

Pyro captain Molly Fox believes her team’s victory was no fluke, but rather a sign of more success to come.

“We’re a young team and we needed experience, which unfortunately came during the season, but we still have time to get to the playoffs,” she said.

Fox believes Pasquerilla East was able to hit its stride late this season due in part to the team’s exemplary work ethic. The squad had three 7:00 a.m. practices last week in addition to four team meetings.

“I definitely think that after [these practices and meetings] with our coaches something clicked for us,” Fox said.

The Pyros and the Lions are both young and inexperienced, but full of potential.

“They’re a well-coached team with talent, that, like us, hasn’t been able to capitalize on it,” Fox said.

While Pasquerilla East enters the game hoping for a win to make the playoffs, Lyons just wants to enjoy itself.

“We understand that winning is great, but it’s just a game and the main reason we play is to have fun,” Lyons captain Cheron Wilson said. “As long as we have fun, we can’t get too down,”

Lyons will battle Pasquerella East with a Blue League playoff berth on the line for the Pyros at 9:00 Tuesday at the Riehle West fields.

Walsh Badin

Tonight’s game is loaded with playoff implications.

Badin and Walsh – both with 2-2 records – have the opportunity to vault into second place tonight 7:00 p.m. on Riehle West field with a win and a Cavanaugh loss.

After starting the season with a win, Badin lost consecutive games to Cavanaugh and Welsh Family and was in danger of falling out of the race. But a 13-7 win over Lyons Sept. 26 put the Bullfrogs right back in contention.

Quarterback Katie Rose Hackney leads Badin’s potent offense. She’s a quick, versatile player who also plays defense and returns kicks. With her in the backfield and talented wide receivers Courtney Rains and Lizzi Shappell split out wide – Badin should test Walsh’s stingy secondary.

But Walsh captain Mary Claire Sullivan is not fazed.

“We’re not worried about Badin,” Sullivan said. “We’ll do what we know how to do, and worry about what we can control.”

Badin won’t be able to pass on offense and force the issue on defense as easily as it did against Lyons. In their last game against Lyons, Badin was able to shut down an option attack and force the pass, a scenario Lyons was not comfortable with. They took advantage of mismatches on defense and Hackney’s scrambling ability and were able to put together some nice scoring drives.

Although they outplayed the Lions, they only won 13-7, and one of their touchdowns came on a tipped pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

They will need a better showing against Walsh, a team that has matured as the season went on.

“We’re starting to gel on offense and defense,” Sullivan said. “We have a lot of talent, and we’re coming together.”

Walsh has also lost to both Cavanaugh and Welsh Family, but has very convincing wins over Lyons and Pasquerilla East. Against the Pyros, Walsh registered seven interceptions, including four by Wild Women safety Julie Campbell. This secondary will hope to shut down Hackney and the Bullfrog passing game as they have done in their last two games.

“It’s not a matter of anything not working, it’s just been a matter of time,” Sullivan said.

Welsh Family vs. Cavanaugh

A match-up between two of the two best teams in the Blue League should prove to be exciting.

Welsh Family plays Cavanaugh tonight at 8:00 p.m. on Riehle West Field in a game that could determine the outcome of the Blue League standings. Welsh Family (4-0) is currently in first and Cavanaugh is in second (3-1).

If Welsh Family wins, it will take an undefeated record and the top seed into the playoffs. Cavanaugh beat both Badin and Walsh – so even if it loses it will remain in second. However, a win will push the Chaos past the Whirlwinds into the top spot.

The crucial factor of the game for the Chaos will be stopping Welsh Family quarterback Jenni Gargula’s high-powered Whirlwind offense. Gargula has a strong arm, great pocket presence and a talented group of receivers. She can complete the short pass underneath as well as the deep route.

Chaos captain Kerri Bergen knows how important defense will be in this game.

“We need to make big plays on defense, and not allow any big pass plays,” Bergen said. “We play zone defense. We’ll cover the deep zone and watch for crossing routes. Lots of talk on defense is important. We need communication between players about what routes they’re running.”

Welsh Family is a great ball control team, sustaining long drives and keeping the clock running. If Cavanaugh executes on offense, however, that advantage may be lessened.

“We need to push the ball hard on offense,” Bergen said. “Our offense has been doing very well, both running and passing, and we want to keep that through to this game.”

The Whirlwind’s defensive line that has wreaked havoc in the backfield and pressured quarterbacks to throw early all season will be a strong challenge to the Chaos offensive line. In order to avoid getting bogged down by Welsh Family’s strong defense, Cavanaugh will need to get their offense running early.

“We need to be really aggressive, and get out and not wait to get in the game,” said Bergen.