Men’s Interhall: St. Edward’s faces Sorin in battle of unbeatens
CHRISTINA MCDONALD, SHANE STEINBURG, KYLE SMITH, LIZA NAVARRO, CHRIS MASOUD and BOBBY GRAHAM | Friday, October 31, 2008
Two undefeated teams will face off this Sunday when St. Ed’s takes on Sorin at 2 p.m. at Riehle Fields in the last game of the regular season.
The Otters (3-0) have dominated all season long. Their offense and defense coalesce to form a powerful, cohesive attack on both sides of the ball. The Sorin defense has only given up six points on the year.
To win Sunday, the Otters need to continue to maintain the vigor and energy that has made the team one of the strongest contenders. Specifically, they will need a big game from freshman standout Bobby Sullivan.
“We’re confident we will emerge from this game undefeated and earn a top seed in the playoffs,” Sorin captain Rob Gallic said.
However, remaining undefeated promises to be a difficult task this week, as St. Ed’s (3-0) also comes into the game unbeaten. The Gentlemen have reeled off a string of victories, and are coming off a 14-12 victory over Zahm. For them, they hope that this energy will carry over and propel them to a strong performance against Sorin.
St. Ed’s, like Sorin, has dominated the league on both sides of the ball. Specifically, the Gentlemen hope to use their running game effectively. St. Ed’s captain Andrew Nester predicted that running back Gavin Payne would put up “a mile of rushing yards.”
The St. Ed’s offense will have to be flawless against the Sorin defense that is sure to show up this Sunday.
“This game is for an unblemished record and small dorm league supremacy,” Gallic said.
The stage is set for two undefeated teams to fight for their record in the last game of the season.
Fisher vs. Zahm
Heading into Sunday’s final regular season game, both Zahm and Fisher find themselves winless and struggling to soften the blows from what has so far been a season full of disappointment.
Fisher’s downfall has been its offense, which has yet to score more than a touchdown in a game this season. Although its defense has executed well on its bend-but-don’t-break mentality, the Green Wave (0-3), fresh off of two consecutive postseason runs, have no hope of making it to this year’s playoffs.
“It’s tough having been to the playoffs before and now being in the situation that we’re in,” Fisher linebacker Cameron Compton said. “I guess you just find importance in whatever the situation is. We don’t want to end the season winless, so that’s what we’re playing for.”
Following a near victory last week that saw them lose because of botched extra point attempts, the Rabid Bats (0-2-1) are in the same boat as the Green Wave. Winless and without any cause for celebration, they too are seeking to end their season on a good note with a win and look to next year as a remedy for this year’s woes.
Zahm’s run-centered offense has been somewhat successful of late, but its defense has proven prone to giving up huge plays, which have been backbreakers for Zahm. On Sunday, senior running back Theo Ossei-Anto and company will try to power their way through a defense that has yet to be mastered, even by playoff-caliber teams. That matchup should prove the difference in this game.
With their seniors dreading the thought that this will be the last Interhall football game of their college careers, and their sights set both on next year and this last game, both Zahm and Fisher are at similar places.
This battle between the running prowess of the Rabid Bats and the stalwart defense of Fisher would prove an interesting one on any given day, but on Sunday, it will decide which team ends its sour season on a good note and which team ends its season without having won a single game.
Duncan vs. Siegfried
Desperately seeking its first-ever win, Duncan (0-3) will try to take down the Siegfried Ramblers (3-0) this Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields.
The Highlanders have yet to savor the taste of victory, and they want to end the season on a high note by defeating Siegfried.
“We obviously [want to] go out with a win on the schedule. Upsetting a team would be good,” Duncan captain Garret Burke said.
The Highlanders must find an answer to their offensive woes if they have any chance of an upset. They have only managed to score one touchdown the entire year, finally ending their scoring drought in their last game, a 16-6 loss to Morrissey.
The performance of Duncan wide receiver Mike Kearney, who scored the lone touchdown, will be key if the Highlanders hope to put any points on the board against a strong Siegfried defense, which has allowed just three points the entire year.
Although the Ramblers have already locked up a playoff spot, they know they need to win to secure a favorable seeding in the playoffs. Captain Kevin Kelly said that they are not taking this game lightly.
“We’d like to continue our intensity and continue our execution on our plays against Duncan,” he said.
Siegfried is counting on its offensive stars including running back Marcus Young, fullback Dex Cure and quarterback Max Young to break through Duncan’s defense, and then let their own shut-down defense take care of the rest.
The Ramblers have had success this season not only because they have such a reliable defense, but also because they have come together as a team.
“We have really good chemistry and we work really well together,” Kelly said. “We all know our roles.”
Kelly also said he understands there are more implications to this game other than seeding purposes or preserving an unbeaten record. Momentum will be a key factor in the playoffs, so the Ramblers want to go out with a victory, Kelly said.
Stanford vs. Keenan
The Battle for the Chapel and a rematch of last year’s championship game will take place when Keenan takes on Stanford this Sunday.
The Griffins (2-1-1) and the Knights (1-1-1) faced off last year in the stadium for the 2007 Interhall Championships, with Stanford claiming victory. The results of last year’s championship will provide motivation to both teams, with Stanford vying to protect their victory and Keenan trying for a little revenge.
“Expect a tough game for both teams, and expect us to fight hard in all aspects of the game,” Keenan captain Barton Dear said.
The Knights will be bringing a solid defense and a versatile offense to the field.
“During practice this week, we will be focusing on toughness on the offensive and defensive lines, and precision in our passing game, and defending the pass,” Dear said.
Key players to watch on the Keenan squad include senior running back Alex Gonzalez, senior fullback and outside linebacker Brett Wilps, senior free safety and wide receiver Andres Villalba, and sophomore center and defensive end Ash Cooke. Contributors from the freshmen class include tight end and defensive end Pat Kelly, and quarterback Terry Mahoney.
Stanford will rely experience and enthusiasm to pave the way to victory Sunday.
“There are a lot of guys returning from when we won the championship last year, we have a lot of heart and we really want to win,” Stanford captain John Burke said.
During this week’s practice, Stanford concentrated on returning to the level of play that they had reached before fall break.
“We will just be making sure that we have everything polished up,” Burke said.
Team leaders for the Griffins include senior and fourth-year quarterback Brian Salvi, senior safety and defensive captain David Costanzo, and on the line, senior defensive end Karun Ahuja.
“We will be coming out on Sunday ready to play, we beat Keenan two times last season and we want to win and make it to the championship,” Burke said.
Game time is 3 p.m. Sunday on Riehle Fields.
O’Neill vs. Keough
Pride is on the line this Sunday as Keough faces off against O’Neill in their annual rivalry game. The Roos and Mob are out of the playoff hunt, but both teams are eager to finish the season with a win.
O’Neill (1-2-0) will try to rebound this week following a demoralizing loss to Stanford that eliminated the Mob from the playoffs. The Griffins completed a two-point conversion as time ran out to capture a 15-14 victory.
Nevertheless, the Mob will bring intensity to this rivalry.
“We have a special group of guys that play for each other,” senior captain Matt Bono said. “It’s rare when a team comes together like that.”
Led by Bono in the trenches, O’Neill will try to take advantage of a Keough offensive line that surrendered four sacks to Dillon in its previous game. Linebacker Brad Blomstrom, who calls the plays for the defense, adds experience and leadership.
On the offensive side, sophomore quarterback Bobby Powers leads the Mob as they try to establish a passing game that has been effective all season. Sophomore running back Tom Freel will test the Keough linebackers on the ground.
Still seeking its first win of the season, Keough (0-2-1) will rely heavily on a defense that has emerged as the backbone of the team.
Coming off a lackluster 2-0 loss to Dillon, the Roos will try to establish a rhythm on offense, a key factor that has been missing all season. Junior quarterback Matt Bruggeman and senior running back Nazur Ahmed will lead an offense that has only seen the end zone once this season.
“We’re just going to have fun,” sophomore running back Kevin Laughlin said. “We’re opening up the whole playbook and pulling out all the stops.”
As the two teams see the season come to a close on Sunday, neither team wants to put the pads away without getting a victory against a bitter rival.
“It’s going to be intense,” Laughlin said. “Any season we beat O’Neill is a good season.”
The two teams face off this Sunday at 3 p.m. at Riehle Fields.
Knott vs. Morrissey
Knott looks to rebound from a last-minute loss last week when they face off against Morrissey in a game that has playoff implications for both teams.
After a disappointing loss to Alumni with six seconds left, Knott (1-2) captain Aidan Fitzgerald stressed the importance of a win in their upcoming game against the Manorites (2-1) on Sunday, as a win would put them in a three-way tie in the division at 2-2.
“We are a little rusty coming off the break,” Fitzgerald said, “But now things are starting to flow and we will be ready for Sunday.”
Morrissey will be a tough team to beat, though. Captain Joe McBrayer expressed that his team’s emphasis in practice hasn’t been anything fancy or different, just a lot of repetition.
“Everybody needs to know where they need to be and execute. That’s when our game is as smooth as ever,” MacBrayer said. “Everybody [needs to step up], we don’t just need one guy out there and play well, we need everybody doing their jobs.”
With the regular season winding down this is a must win game for both teams. They face off this Sunday at Riehle Field at 2 p.m.