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Lyons looking for a big upset against top-seeded Welsh Fam

Joe Meixell | Thursday, October 30, 2008

To kick off the first round of the playoffs, top-seeded Welsh Family has history on its side against No. 8 seed Lyons.

These two teams met in the first playoff game last season with the exact same seeds. Last year, Welsh Family won – but it’s a new season, a new game, and Lyons seems prepared for the fight.

“I think the biggest challenge this Sunday is being prepared mentally,” Lyons junior quarterback and co-captain Claire Connell said. “We need to show up to the game ready to play with intensity.”

As Lyons works on their game intensity, Welsh Family has a different gameplan for securing their win, come Sunday.

“We can’t get complacent with the wins we have this year and need to stay focused on winning our upcoming games,” Welsh Family captain Jenni Gargula said.

During the regular season, the Whirlwinds went an impressive 6-0, but almost suffered their first loss against Breen-Phillips in their last game, owing their problems to struggling to score in the red zone.

Lyons finished its regular season at .500.

“We have not played Welsh Family Hall this year, but we know that they are a strong team,” Connell said. “We are looking forward to ending their winning streak.”

The game will take place Sunday at LaBar Fields.

Howard vs. Pasquerilla West

Every season, when playoffs roll around, it becomes a different ballgame. Teams with deep playoff experience, such as Pasquerilla West, understand this fact.

But squads like Howard, with only one playoff game in team history, don’t necessarily know the feeling.

But, despite only being separated in the standings by half a game, and tying each other earlier this fall, Pasquerilla West (3-1-2) enters the first-round game against Howard (3-2-1) on Sunday with at least that one large factor in its favor. At the end of September when the two teams last met, the season was near its halfway point. The two teams endured a defensive slugfest to a 6-6 tie.

Pasquerilla West team captain Cara Davies described that matchup as “an ugly, sloppy game by all accounts.”

Both teams relied on strong defensive rushes to fluster the opposing quarterback. This strategy led to PW lineman Jordan Johnson recording two sacks. The Howard defense countered those sacks by intercepting Davies twice in the first half.

The greatest difference between the two teams is their playoff experience. PW has won two titles in the past three years, but were stifled last year in the semi-finals.

“Our goal this year is to end up back in the Stadium,” Davies said. “We’re definitely looking to get back to familiar ground.”

Last season the Ducks reached the playoffs for the first time. Their stint was short-lived though, as they lost in the first round.

“We’re taking it one game at a time,” captain and sophomore quarterback Kayla Bishop said. “But we’ve always got that Stadium game in the back of our minds.”

Both Pasquerilla West and Howard are eager for a better game than the last time they played each other. Howard hopes to record its first playoff victory in history and Pasquerilla West is chasing its third title in four years.

The Ducks and Purple Weasels meet Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the LaBar Fields.

Farley vs. Walsh

On Sunday, third-seeded Walsh will try to get redemption against the sixth-seeded Farley in a first-round playoff matchup.

The two teams faced off in their season openers, with the Finest tallying an easy 26-0 win. Quarterback Emily Murphy threw for three touchdowns in the dominant offensive performance.

However, Farley captain Jenny Rolfs has noticed a definite improvement in the Wild Women over the course of the regular season. This improvement is seen especially in the Wild Women defense, which has allowed six points or less in three of the last four games and has brought the team’s record to 3-2-1.

The Finest will rely on their defense, which shut out its previous opponent, Lewis, and has been stellar throughout the season.

“Our defense is very solid, we have held other teams to little or no points,” senior captain Jenny Rolfs said.

The offense, on the other hand, was unable to produce any points against Lewis, and the Finest are trying to get Murphy to repeat her performance in the season opener. Farley is focused on improving short yardage plays and moving the ball quickly.

The winner of this match will go on to face the winner of undefeated Welsh Family and Lyons.

Pangborn vs. McGlinn

This Sunday, the Pangborn Phoxes and McGlinn Shamrocks will face off on LaBar fields at 4 p.m. in the concluding game of the first playoff week.

Both teams are hoping that their gameplan and experience gained over the course of the season will lead them to victory and one game closer to the championship.

Despite Pangborn’s sub-par performance in their previous game against Farley, the team believes it will be competitive with any team it plays. Before playing Farley, the high-powered Pangborn offense averaged nearly 25 points a game.

“We didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked last game,” Pangborn captain Kathy Poploski said. “Losing the last game of the regular season is not the ideal way of entering the playoffs, but it won’t affect how we play our remaining games.”

On the other sideline, McGlinn plans to use the momentum from its win over Lyons to give the Shamrocks an advantage against Pangborn. However, the Shamrocks aren’t content with merely making the playoffs. The Shamrocks have their sights set on the championship.

“It means a lot to be in the playoffs especially after the rough season last year, but we are not content with just making the playoffs because we think we have a chance to win it all,” senior captain and quarterback Sarah deGroot said. “I think the playoffs are coming at the perfect time as we are playing our best football of the season.”