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Men’s Interhall Football Semifinals:Keenan’s run game poses challenge to Ramblers

Griffin Dassatti and Peter Reisenaur | Friday, November 9, 2007

After a narrow 6-0 victory over Zahm in the quarterfinals, No. 2 seed Siegfried hopes to reach Notre Dame Stadium when the Ramblers take on No. 3 seed Keenan on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Riehle Field.

The Ramblers (3-0-1) avenged a week-three tie with the Rabid Bats with their victory last Sunday. The victory, however, left senior captain Tom Martin a little nervous.

“It was definitely nice for us to be able to get past that one blemish on our record,” Martin said. “But we really didn’t feel like we played to our potential. We made lots of mental errors, and there are lots of things we need to improve on.”

The “mental errors” to which Martin refers include several dropped passes against Zahm – including a well-designed flea-flicker that could have gone for a touchdown – and a muffed punt in the first half that gave Zahm its best starting field position of the contest.

After the win, Martin admits, the team realized that it needed a lot of practice if it was going to beat the Knights. Keenan’s powerful rushing attack led the Knights to a 21-14 overtime victory over Morrissey in the quarterfinals.

Thanks to junior running back Alex Gonzalez and senior fullback Joe Pappas, the Keenan running game racked up well over 200 yards against the Manor defense. Martin said Siegfried focused on stopping Keenan’s ground game in practice this week.

“[We’re hoping that] we can force them to pass a little more,” he said. “We have a pretty strong secondary that few teams have been able to do anything against during the season.”

Offensively, the Ramblers will look to use their running game early to open up the field as the game goes on, a task that Martin also admits will be a challenge.

“Our line is going to have to come out hard,” he said. “We struggled against Zahm first half. We’re going to have to be very physical. Hopefully the run will open up some passing, but with their size and speed on defense we’ll have to come out [strong].”

Fisher vs. Stanford

Fisher will try to avenge last year’s playoff loss to Stanford and take down the Griffins on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Field.

Both teams pulled off dramatic wins last week to make it to the semifinals. Stanford won in overtime against Dillon last week on a fourth-down play that gave the Griffins the winning touchdown, while Fisher won 14-7 against St. Ed’s, showcasing its offensive skills.

Stanford had an anemic offense last week against Dillon, but captain Rob Hut was confident Stanford can change that this week.

“We need to establish our run game early, and although we struggled a bit in the passing game, I believe that our receivers will bounce back,” Huth said.

He believed that as long as his team stays disciplined, they have a good chance at winning against Fisher.

“I want all of our guys to come out, fly around, and get to the ball,” Huth said. “If we come out and hit while remaining discipline, we can beat anyone.”

Fisher picked up numerous long third downs against St. Ed’s last week because of the Stedsmen’s undisciplined play. Stanford’s defense, which was able to hold Dillon to one field goal last week, will be a greater test.