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Men’s Interhall Football: Ramblin’ men

Jared Jedick, Sam Werner, Mike Gotimer and Matt Gamber | Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In its first three games, all victories, St. Ed’s did not allow freshman quarterback Matt Abeling to be sacked once.

That streak is over.

Abeling was sacked three times and hurried plenty of others in a 13-12 loss to Siegfried Sunday.

“We knew they were going to come out throwing, so we just went after them hard all day,” said senior defensive lineman Tom Martin, who recorded a pair of sacks for the Ramblers. “We hadn’t gotten as much pressure up front as we would have liked the last few games, but today we got the job done.”

Juniors Tom Scrace, who claimed the other Siegfried sack, and Tom Owens, who intercepted an errant Abeling throw, led a defense that shut down a St. Ed’s offense that had looked dominant the past three weeks.

“We’re really happy with our defense,” Martin said. “We gave up a couple of big plays, but that’s all they got. We held them in pretty much all day.”

The defensive effort, combined with the clock-controlling running of junior Marcus Young (14 carries, 70 yards) and a pair of touchdown catches from senior Kevin Kelly, gave the Stedsmen all they could handle.

“They’re smaller than us, and we felt like we could beat them up and just run it down their throats,” Young said. “They only had a few guys in the box, so that’s what we stuck to all day.”

The Ramblers established their efficient passing game early, as freshman quarterback Mike Garcia hit Kelly for a 43-yard completion on Siegfried’s second play from scrimmage. Four plays later, freshman fullback Dan Scime took an outside toss then dropped back and threw a strike to Kelly for an 11-yard touchdown.

After a St. Ed’s punt pinned the Ramblers back at their own 5-yard line, Siegfried went three-and-out. A mishandled snap on the punt attempt allowed St. Ed’s to block the punt, and Stedsmen junior Brendan McCarthy fell on the ball in the end zone to cut Siegfried’s lead to 7-6.

But the Ramblers quickly struck back, as Garcia found Kelly for a 65-yard score on the first play of the ensuing drive. Kelly broke one tackle near midfield and was in the clear as he headed to the end zone to give the Ramblers a 13-6 lead.

The St. Ed’s offense continued to struggle, moving the ball but coming up empty in crucial situations until midway through the fourth quarter. After an Abeling interception was nullified by a roughing the passer penalty, he hit Stedsmen junior receiver Ryan Farrell in the corner of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown pass.

After the score, St. Ed’s coach Cameron Hogue stuck with the daring strategy that had seen the Stedsmen call pass plays on all but one of their offensive plays. St. Ed’s elected to attempt the two-point conversion for the win, but Abeling’s pass was knocked away in the end zone, securing the Ramblers victory.

“We just came out flat today, but we’re a lot better than we played,” St. Ed’s senior captain Ge Wang said. “If we play like we did in the second half, no one can beat us.”

Freshman Mark Costanzo had two interceptions, and fellow freshman Chris Dinkins recorded a sack for a St. Ed’s defense that allowed 220 yards.

While the Ramblers may have all but secured a playoff berth, they said they are still looking forward to Wednesday’s showdown with Fisher in the regular season finale for both teams.

Fisher 7, Knott 6

Fisher stayed undefeated Sunday with a 7-6 victory over Knott in a game characterized by turnovers.

The Juggerknotts were unable to string their promising offensive successes together into a complete drive, falling victim to an interception and four fumbles, three of which were lost during the snap from center.

“When you put it on the ground five times, you are going to go down,” Knott coach Brian Lohr said.

The game started with a fumbled snap by Knott freshman quarterback Nick Lezynski that gave Fisher excellent field position.

Fisher senior quarterback Kevin Rabil wasted no time driving his offense down the field, connecting on a deep pass to senior receiver Pat Gotebeski to put the Green Wave on the 5-yard line.

Rabil then hooked up with junior receiver John O’Connell for the first score of the game, and the Green Wave converted the extra point to make the score 7-0.

“We were down by the end zone, and we needed a quick pass,” Rabil said. “I saw they were playing off and it was open.”

O’Connell credited his quarterback’s vision for the touchdown pass.

“I saw an opening and got underneath the coverage, and Kevin [Rabil] made a great throw,” O’Connell said.

Fisher and Knott then traded turnovers and punts, but an interception by O’Connell ended a promising Knott drive at the end of the first half.

“I was able to watch the quarterback’s eyes, and I rolled with him. He overthrew the ball and it was just right there,” O’Connell said.

The second half started slowly, with both teams punting and fumbling once before Knott’s offense started to show some life.

Lezynski connected deep down the sideline with sophomore receiver Jeff Skorup for Knott’s first and only score.

“I told the team at halftime that if we got into the end-zone we would go for two,” Lohr said. “If we were able to convert, it would have taken the heart out of Fisher.”

But the Juggerknotts were not able to convert on the two-point try, and Fisher held onto its 7-6 lead.

The Juggerknotts defense forced a punt on Fisher’s ensuing possession, but a third dropped snap by Lezynski let Fisher to run out the clock and seal the game.

Knott dropped to 1-3 and is most likely knocked out of playoff contention, but Lohr has confidence for next year.

“We are only graduating three seniors this year,” Lohr said. “We’ll do well next year.”

Fisher’s 3-0 start puts it in prime position to grab the No. 1 seed in the playoffs if the Green Wave can beat Siegfried on Thursday.

“It feels great to be undefeated, and we are really happy to be back in the playoffs,” Rabil said. “Hopefully, we can carry some of this momentum into the postseason.”

Sorin 24, Carroll 0

Sorin kept its slim playoff hopes alive Sunday with a 24-0 victory over Carroll.

The Otters, now 1-2, need a win Wednesday night against Zahm and help from several other teams in order to reach the playoffs.

“We had our backs against the wall and we came out with a real sense of urgency,” Sorin captain Ryan Bove said. “We had no turnovers or penalties, and that had been killing us this season.”

Against the Vermin, Sorin relied on a power running attack led by sophomore Joe Vittoria, who had 13 carries for 57 yards, and sophomore Rob Gallic, who had 75 yards on 8 rushes.

Bove credited the successful rushing attack to great play by the offensive line.

“Our running backs weren’t making their first contact until four or five yards downfield,” Bove said. “The line made a world of difference.”

Gallic and Vittoria’s rushing, along with a long pass from sophomore quarterback Casey McGushin to freshman receiver Jon Beckerle, helped Sorin drive down the field for a 25-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Carroll struggled to find momentum on offense, going three-and-out on its first drive. Sorin capitalized on the stop, again relying on the sophomore running back duo to lead it down the field. This time, McGushin was able to find sophomore receiver Jeremy Bruck on a quick slant for the touchdown.

Carroll got the ball to start the second half but fumbled on the first play, giving Sorin possession on the Vermin 35-yard line. But the Otters could not get the ball into the end zone, as Carroll made a goal-line stand on fourth down to keep the score at 10-0.

After another Carroll punt, McGushin found junior receiver Dan McMahon on the third play of the possession along the right sideline. McMahon caught the pass at the 25-yard line and shook off a Vermin defender to get to the end zone and extend the Otters lead to 17-0.

Sorin scored again on the last play of the game, on another pass from McGushin to Beckerle.

Vermin captain Kyle Kownacki attributed his team’s 0-4 season to a lack of adequate practice time.

“Talent-wise, we can hang with anyone in this league,” Kownacki said. “But we’ve got no timing because we’ve had trouble getting guys to practice.”

Bove believes his team has a chance to make the playoffs, and the Otters know they must triumph on Wednesday night.

“If we win, we have a good chance,” Bove said. “We just have to out and win.”

Stanford 12, Keough 7

Stanford’s miscues nearly cost it the game, but the team overcame two penalties that took touchdowns off the board and defeated Keough 12-7.

“As a team, we feel pretty good about the win,” Stanford junior captain Rob Huth said. “That being said, as a team, we all feel like we did not play disciplined football with all the penalties we had and almost gave the game away to Keough.”

Keough pounded the ball down Stanford’s throat early in the game. But the Griffins’ defense eventually solidified and forced a turnover on downs. Stanford senior running back Bryce Fugarino had two long runs on Stanford’s opening drive, putting the ball in the end zone on the second of the two. Stanford missed the extra point, leaving the score at 6-0.

Stanford had two chances to put the game away early, but costly penalties nullified two Griffin scores. On the drive following their first score, the Griffins ran a fake punt that went for a touchdown. But the play was called back because of an illegal formation penalty.

On Keough’s next possession, Stanford came up with an interception that led to a lateral, a fumble and a Griffins’ recovery for a touchdown. But that score was also called back because of a hold on the return.

Despite the nullified touchdowns, Stanford’s 12 points are the most points that the Griffins have scored in a game all season.