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Men’s Interhall: Controversial penalty gives Sorin second chance and win

Douglas Farmer, Kyle Smith, Charlie Stokes, Liza Navarro, Alex West and Matthew Wilsey | Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sorin started its season off right with a win on Sunday – in part because of a controversial roughing the kicker penalty late in its 8-6 win over Fisher.

The tough Green Wave defense held Sorin scoreless for most of the game, but Otters quarterback Casey McGushin heaved a fourth-and-goal prayer from the nineteen-yard line that receiver Jon Beckerle somehow managed to pull in over a Fisher defender, tying the game at 6-6.

Beckerle gave the Otters their first lead of the game when his one-and-a-half yard quarterback sneak for the two-point conversion.

On the ensuing point after attempt, Fisher lineman Steve Botsman broke through the line and blocked the kick. In the process, as Botsman ran through his block, he also ran through the Sorin kicker, eliciting a roughing the kicker call by head official Don Zion.

Fisher coach John Donavan demanded an explanation, as he felt Botsman was simply continuing the play. Donovan said Zion gave “no explanation whatsoever as to why the penalty call was made.”

Both teams had stout, swarming defenses and unproductive, sloppy offenses in the first quarter. But as halftime approached, Beckerle threw an interception, which was returned to Sorin 31-yard line. On the next play, Fisher quarterback Mike McMahon took a draw straight up the middle and eluded a few Otter tacklers en route to the game’s first touchdown.

A botched snap cost the Green Wave the extra point, but Fisher emotions and hopes were high heading into halftime.

The third quarter resembled the first, with a missed Green Wave field goal the only possible points.

The drive of the game came late in the fourth quarter, which was highlighted by a 49-yard pass from Beckerle to the Fisher 30-yard line. Sorin worked its way to the six-yard line where it had a first-and-goal. However, an incomplete pass, a run for no-gain and a holding penalty forced the Otters back to third-and-goal from the 19.

Beckerle threw another ball to the front of the end zone, but the Fisher defense again broke it up. With one last chance, Beckerle put a ball he described as “not pretty,” but McGushin still was able to make the play, knotting the score at six.

Looking past the disputed personal foul call, Donavan was proud of his team.

“The boys worked hard,” he said. “There is no excuse for losing.”

Sorin will try to build on their momentum in a contest with Zahm next weekend, while Fisher intends to use this week’s loss as motivation in their rivalry game against Carroll for The Crooked Stick.

Keenan 0, Keough 0 – Kyle Smith (ksmith31@nd.edu)

It was a war of attrition Sunday afternoon as Keenan and Keough fought to a sluggish 0-0 tie.

Despite the tough defensive struggle, Keough still had a late chance to win the game, but Kangaroos kicker Matt Cirillo’s 41-yard field goal sailed wide of the upright with 5 seconds left.

Keough quarterback Matt Bruggemen set up the field goal try after breaking off for a 24 yard run to get the Kangaroos within field goal range.

The game started off with a bang as Keenan quarterback Pat Kelly connected with wide receiver Jim Zenker for a 51-yard gain on the game’s first play, but a strong Keough defense soon forced the Knights to punt.

The Kangaroos couldn’t capitalize, and their offense also struggled against the talented Knight defense, going three and out on their first possession.

Keenan had a chance to score at the end of the first half after a drive into Keough territory, but time expired before the Knights could get the kick off.

Early in the second half, the teams traded possessions with both defenses holding strong. In the fourth quarter, Keenan threatened with a drive into Keough territory, and Kelly twice scrambled for first downs. However, the Kangaroo defense stepped up and halted the Knight’s advance with an interception on fourth down.

Keough co-captain and wide receiver Kevin Laughlin was especially appreciative of his team’s defensive effort.

“Our defense played extremely well,” he said. “We knew they had a tough running back, we knew they were going to be a tough team, but our defense came through.”

Keenan star running back Alex Gonzalez was held in check by the Kangaroos, earning only 52 yards on the ground.

“We just needed to open up some bigger holes for him,” Keenan captain Barton Dear said.

Despite the tie, Dear was satisfied with his team’s performance.

“We just need to move the ball a little better on offense,” he said. “We have room for improvement but it was a good first game.”

In spite of the missed opportunity at the end, Keough captain Nazur Ahmed was happy with his team’s performance.

“In my opinion Keenan is the best team in the league,” he said. “Everyone stepped up; I couldn’t be prouder.”

St. Edward’s 20, Carroll 6 – Charlie Spokes (cspokes@nd.edu)

St Ed’s used a strong passing attack to roll over the Carroll Vermin 20-6.

Stedsman sophomore quarterback Matt Abeling excelled all afternoon out of the shotgun and rolling to both sidelines.

Abeling opened up the scoring with a 70-yard bomb to Sean Reed in the first quarter that put the Stedsmen up 7-0.

“We feel we did a good job of exploiting their weaknesses on defense,” Abeling said.

Carroll responded on their next drive with a 50-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Kris Kast to junior receiver Tommy Mumford, followed by a 9-yard fade for a touchdown from Kast to Mumford. A missed extra point left the Vermin down 7-6.

“It was nice to see some rejuvenated play from the upperclassmen,” Vermin coach Nick Ruof said.

After Carroll punted with under two minutes left in the half, St. Ed’s quickly moved the ball downfield, starting with a 45-yard pass from Abeling to receiver Ryan Farrell. That set up another Abeling touchdown pass as time expired in the first half.

“The offensive line did a great job of keeping the pressure off and I had the time to make the time to make some throws,” Abeling said.

Coming out from halftime, Carroll’s opening drive looked promising before Kast threw an interception near midfield.

A relatively uneventful second half was highlighted by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Abeling to Stedsman receiver Dan Crisman that brought the final score to 20-6.

Even after the loss, Ruof was very positive about the Vermin’s performance.

“This game was a big step forward, we played with a lot of heart and I’m excited for the rest of the season,” he said.

Morrissey 23, Alumni 0

“Black and gold victory” was the cheer from the Morrissey huddle after they shut out Alumni 23-0 in their opening game Sunday at Riehle Field.

“We worked hard all week in practice, we went really hard today, and it is important to open up with a win,” Morrissey defender John Saulitis said.

The Manorite offense was led by senior quarterback and team captain Joe McBrayer, who connected with senior wide receiver Carl Andersen for three touchdown passes.

McBrayer said that despite the win, “the game was a little sloppy.”

“We know what we need to work on,” Morrissey coach Joe DiLuia said.

Defensively, Morrissey’s strong play in the trenches paved the way to victory.

“[Lineman] Mike Kaiser really took control of this game,” junior Manorite defender Phil Yuhas said.

In the secondary, John Soltis chipped in with a fourth-quarter interception.

Dawgs quarterback Pat Rushford had a strong short passing game, but the tough Morrissey secondary allowed only a few completions.

“If we isolate those three big [touchdown] passes, it was a fairly even game,” Alumni captain Luke Betterman said. “We saw some things to build on today and we are excited for next week”

Next on the schedule, Alumni will play Duncan on Sunday, and Morrissey has a bye before taking on Duncan on Sunday, October 5 at 1pm.

Dillon vs. O’Neill -Alex West (awest@hcc-nd.edu)

After O’Neill’s 14-0 victory over Dillon, one team was left encouraged; the other was looking for answers.

Dillon was hoping to prove itself as an elite team, but O’Neill made a statement that it was not the same team that struggled last year.

The Angry Mob started out strong on their first drive, moving the ball well until their offense stalled and turned the ball over on fourth down. After holding Dillon to a three-and-out, the Mob had another drive that stalled deep in Big Red territory with less than two minutes to go in the first half.

“We had a couple of kinks in the beginning but we made the right adjustments in the end,” O’Neill defender Brad Blomstrom said.

Both of the Angry Mob’s scores came in the 2nd half on touchdown passes from quarterback Bobby Powers, who finished the day 11-of-16 passing with two touchdowns.

“I had great blockers and receivers out there.” Powers said. “We started out slow but we were able to wear them down.”

Dillon was never able to get into a rhythm on offense. The Big Red was plagued by bad snaps and penalties, and ran only 11offensive plays all game. Dillon didn’t even attempt a pass until their last drive of the fourth quarter.

Next week, O’Neil has an off week before playing Keenan hall on October 5. Dillon’s next game is next week against Keenan.

Knott 6, Duncan 0 – Matthew Wilsey (mwilsey@nd.edu)

In a low-scoring defensive battle, Knott got its season off to a successful start defeating Duncan Hall 6-0 on Sunday.

After turning the ball over on downs on their first possession, Juggernauts running back Cam Smith scored the only touchdown of the game, capping off a 65-yard drive. Knott moved the ball by spreading it around through the air, with four different Knott receivers catching passes of 10 yards or more from Juggernaut quarterback J.T. Redshaw.

Knott threatened to increase their lead shortly before halftime. With 15 seconds left, wide receiver Jeff Skorup broke three tackles for a 40-yard reception to the 10-yard line, but Knott couldn’t get a final play off before halftime.

Skorup was the offensive star of the game, with 90 yards receiving. In addition to his reception at the end of the half, Skorup also made an acrobatic one-handed 20 yard catch on the first offensive series of the game.

“He never played in high school, but is a tremendous athlete who makes play after play,” Knott coach Brian Lohr said.

Knott’s defense was also impressive, consistently harassing Duncan quarterback Chris Toups. Defensive end Joe Sorice sealed the win for the Juggernauts with a late interception in the fourth quarter.

“We aren’t the fastest, but we will hit you,” Lohr said.

Duncan’s defense also played well in the loss, holding Knott to the lone touchdown and shutting down their ground game.

“I am proud of the defense,” Duncan captain Garret Burke said. “They stayed with their assignments and played tough for all four quarters.”

Duncan’s young offense stuttered, though. Toups struggled to find open receivers and was pressured throughout the game by the Knott’s front four. Burke, at running back, provided the only spark for Duncan rushing for 40 yards.

Duncan continued to hurt its own cause with penalties, surrendering more penalty yards than it gained offensively. Their longest play of the game, a 35 yard punt return was negated by a block in the back, and false starts and several dead ball personal fouls prevented Duncan from getting any rhythm on offense.

“The penalties killed us and slowed us down on offensive,” Burke. “We will be running this week to make sure that we are in shape, both mentality and physically, for next week’s game.”