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Interhall Playoffs: Stanford faces O’Neill for chance to play in Stadium

Bill Brink, Andrew Kovach, Kate Donlin, and John Tierney | Friday, November 3, 2006

Prior to Sunday’s win against Fisher, no one would have expected to see Stanford face O’Neill in the semifinals. But Stanford, who upset No. 1 seed Fisher 12-6 last week, didn’t quite see it that way.

“We thought we were as good as any other team this year,” said Griffins captain Brandon McLeod. “Fisher was just another football team, and we felt if we played well, played better than them, we could beat them.”

Stanford’s win earned it the chance to face the Mob in Sunday’s semifinal at 1:30 p.m. on Riehle South Field.

O’Neill, fresh off a 21-8 win over Carroll, isn’t taking anything for granted.

“This is a new week,” Mob captain Pat Conley said. “We’ll need to come out strong and get it done on offense, and get our running game going.”

Stanford feels its running game will give the Griffins a good chance to win as well.

“We have a good running back, and a great offensive line that blocks well,” McLeod said. We need to keep running everywhere, outside and inside.”

Conley said O’Neill is prepared for Stanford’s attack as well.

“We expect a strong running game,” he said. “We consider our defense to be one of the best. Pretty much we think if we can stop the run, we can control the game.”

McLeod and the Griffins hope they can find the chinks in O’Neill’s armor.

“The farther along we go, the better the competition,” he said. “We’ve taken steps to keep the defense honest. The number one priority of a defense in Interhall is to stop the run. We do have a deep threat, and we’ve added some formations and plays that should catch the defense sleeping.”

Morrissey vs. Siegfried

Two stalwart defenses and bruising running games will meet when seventh-seed Siegfried tries to pull off its second consecutive upset – this time against No. 3 seed Morrissey Manor Sunday at 2 p.m. – for the right to play in the Interhall championship in Notre Dame Stadium.

Pulling off perhaps one of the larger upsets in recent men’s Interhall history, the Ramblers took down No. 2 Keenan last week in dramatic fashion. A 27-yard field goal by Brandon Burke in overtime delivered a 3-0 victory to senior captain Matt Wopperer’s team.

“The defense provided the heart. They kept the game within reach,” Wopperer said after the victory.

The Manor was able to pull out a victory over No. 6 Zahm. The lone score in the 7-6 win came on a 34-yard Joe McBrayer to Carl Anderson touchdown strike.

Morrissey freshman linebacker Phil Yuhas knows where his team’s bread is buttered.

“We’re built around our lines,” he said.

The offensive line blew open holes for the Manor’s backs to run through, especially during a gritty 21-play drive in the second half, as the defensive line put pressure on the Rabid Bats.

The winner of this game will play the winner of the O’Neill-Stanford matchup Nov. 18 in the Stadium for the 2006 Men’s Interhall championship.

Pangborn vs. Farley

Pangborn can advance to its second consecutive Interhall championship this weekend with a win over Farley.

Last year the Phoxes’ title dreams vanished after a disappointing loss to Pasquerilla West in the Stadium. The team, coming off a big win last weekend, is ready to continue its push toward another championship berth.

Farley’s Finest, who are making their first playoff appearance in 10 years, have momentum on their side after upsetting Cavanaugh last week 14-0. Farley showed great ability on both sides of the ball in its matchup against the Chaos, with quarterback Brittany Baron throwing for two touchdowns, and the defense forcing two turnovers.

“We knew Cavanaugh would be a tough game, and they were a higher seed, but I think we came out there pumped up, knowing what we had to do,” Farley captain Kim Crehan said.

The Phoxes have consistently dominated their opponents throughout the season and plan to continue their impressive streak.

“We are going to practice hard this week, and we’re excited about this game and playing in the Stadium,” quarterback Katie Mooney said.

Mooney threw one touchdown pass and ran one in on her own to secure a 12-0 victory over Badin in the playoffs’ opening round.

The semifinal will be a rematch of the season opener, when Pangborn shut out the Finest 6-0.

The two teams will go head-to-head Sunday at 1 p.m. at the McGlinn Fields.

Welsh Family vs.

Pasquerilla West

In Sunday’s semifinal, margin of victory is meaningless – a reassuring thought for Pasquerilla West as it prepares to face Welsh Family at 2 p.m. at McGlinn Field.

Undefeated Welsh Family advanced to the semifinals with a 19-0 victory over Breen-Phillips last week behind the defense’s fifth shutout of the season. as quarterback Jenni Gargula threw three touchdowns.

The Whirlwind defense has been a major key to the team’s success all year.

“Our defense has taken the pressure off the offense all year and made it so we don’t have to score on every drive,” said Welsh Family captain Brittany Scott.

Meanwhile, Pasquerilla West squeaked into the semifinal with a 7-6 win over Walsh. The Purple Weasels lone touchdown came on a Cara Davies pass early in the second half after a Wild Women turnover. Although the seven points scored by Pasquerilla West were a far cry from the 33 points it put up against Howard in the last game before fall break, it was enough to survive and advance.

The Pasquerilla West offense, which scored at least 20 points every game in the regular season, hopes to be able to revert to its pre-fall break form.