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Welsh Family avoids huge upset to remain undefeated

Alex West, Liza Navarro, Nathaniel Lee, Christina McDonnell, Bobby Graham | Monday, October 13, 2008

The winless nearly took down the undefeated Sunday, but Welsh Family held on to beat a surging Breen-Philips by the narrow margin of 26-24.

Welsh Fam (6-0) was its usual dominant self in the first half. The Whirlwinds scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game, quickly going up 6-0.

However, BP (0-4-2) answered when quarterback Melissa Meagher unleashed a bomb that connected for a completion, taking the Babes downfield. They too scored on their first possession, tying the score at 6-6.

The Whirlwinds started to pull away when they scored two touchdowns on the strong play of talented quarterback Jenni Gargula, who constantly found her receivers through the heavy traffic of the BP defenders. Gargula led Welsh Fam to a 20-6 halftime lead.

After one more touchdown by Welsh Fam made the score 26-6 at the start of the half, the BP offense began to come alive.

Meagher connected with receiver Stefani Santeramo, who ran the pass in for a touchdown. After an energized BP defense gave the ball back to its own offense, and Meagher consistently hit receiver Lauren Kalinoski to drive the Babes to another touchdown, leaving the Babes down 26-18 with just over a minute to play.

After a crucial interception, the Babes got the ball back with a chance to tie the game. With time running out, Meagher unleashed another long pass that was successfully reeled in again by Santeramo to cut the Welsh Fam lead to two. Instead of going for the two-point conversion and settle for a tie, the Babes decided to go for three and the win.

“We came out here with nothing to lose but everything to win,” Santeramo said. “That’s who we are and that’s why we went for the three.”

Despite the loss, the Babes considered the game a moral victory, as they finished a frustrating season on a high note.

Welsh Fam, though, ended with this rather lackluster second half performance.

“We came out flying to an early lead,” Welsh Fam coach Mike Kaiser said. “Letting a team like that come back should serve as a wake up call for the playoffs.”

Welsh Fam quarterback Jenni Gargula emphasized the need to never be complacent.

This year marks the third year that the Whirlwinds ended the season with an undefeated record. The last two years, Welsh Fam failed to win the championship.

Pasquerilla West 7, Pasquerilla East 0

On an afternoon with little offense, it was Pasquerilla West’s defense that provided the only points as an interception return for a touchdown gave the Purple Weasels a 7-0 victory their rivals, the Pyros (0-5-1).

PW’s (3-1-2) offense struggled the entire game, as the Pyros held them to only two first downs the entire game. The PE defense also racked up nine sacks and applied pressure all game against PW. On five offensive drives, PW was forced to punt on four of them and turned the ball over on downs the other time.

On the other side of the ball, PE quarterback Caitlin Lynch was effective at moving the ball down the field, but couldn’t put together a serious scoring threat until the final drive of the game. The PW defense forced a turnover on downs near midfield to secure the victory as time expired.

Defensive linemen Jordan Johnson had seven sacks for PW.

“We played one heck of a game.” Johnson said. “The season so far has been great. We have great team unity.”

PW can now being to prepare for the first round of the playoffs after fall break.

On the other hand, the Pyros season came to an end with their fifth loss out of six games. “It was a disappointing season.” Pyro captain Tara Pillai said “But we did improve a lot from the first week until now and we had fun.”

Pillai’s teammate Liz Ruiz is optimistic for next year.

“We have only one senior.” Ruiz said. “We will be better next year with a lot of players returning.”

Howard 13, Cavanaugh 0

One of the most aggressive and intense games this season ended with a shutout, as Howard took down Cavanaugh 13-0.

“I have never seen anything that physical,” Cavanaugh coach Joe Quinn said.

Howard captain and quarterback Kayla Bishop added: “We lost to Cavanaugh earlier this season, so it felt really great to have another chance to come out and win it.”

The Ducks’ defense won the game for them, surprising the Chaos (2-2-2) with man-to-man coverage.

“We are not used to seeing a man defense,” Cavanaugh captain and quarterback Katie Dunn said. “If we make the playoffs, we will be working hard in practice to prepare ourselves to face one in the future.”

Cornerback Laura Giezeman came up with several key tackles for Howard (3-2-1), and Kristyn Jeffries notched a second-half interception for the Ducks.

Offensively, Howard asserted its presence early in the first half, getting a touchdown and an extra point completion to put seven on the board.

Cavanaugh was led by a strong performance from quarterback Katie Dunn, who arrived ready to play despite her ankle injury.

“We were missing a few members of our offense today,” Dunn said. “But we had a few great lineman dumps to Sarah Cline, who really stepped up.”

The Chaos defense had a few sacks in the first half, including the first big sack of the year for Lauren Madigan. Overall, however, the Cavanaugh secondary could not stop the Howard passing game.

Both teams will take the upcoming weeks to make some adjustments and to prepare for the playoffs.

McGlinn 14, Lyons 7

Casey Robertson’s interception with one second left secured a 14-7 win for McGlinn over Lyons Sunday.

The Shamrocks came from behind to beat the Lions and have now turned their attention elsewhere.

“We are excited for playoffs,” McGlinn captain and quarterback Sarah deGroot said.

DeGroot led the McGlinn offense with some great completions, including a 40-yard spiral to wide receiver Kathleen Stanley at the end of the first half. Also running routes for McGlinn was wide receiver Lauren Miller, who helped move the ball in the second.

On defense, Emily Dore set the stage with key sacks in the backfield, causing both a loss of yardage and momentum for the Lyons offense.

It was an unfortunate loss for the Lions, who came out ready to play with a touchdown on the first drive, scored by quarterback Claire Connell.

“We had a tough loss today,” Connell said. “But we hope to get fired up and ready for the playoffs.”

Lions played without a few of its key defensemen. Receivers Neva Lundy and Caroline Maroney played both sides of the ball to fill in the gap.

“They really stepped up and played hard when we needed them too,” Connell said.

Walsh 6, Badin 6

Walsh came from behind in the second half to tie Badin and secure a spot in the playoffs Sunday at LaBar Fields.

In a game dominated by defenses, one touchdown was all the Wild Women (3-2-1) needed to move on to the post-season.

The Bullfrogs (1-3-2) offense took control to start the game. On the opening drive, senior quarterback Katie Rose Hackney was 7-for-9 for 65 yards and a touchdown. Senior tight end Courtney Rains had receptions of 10, four, 12 and 13 yards on the drive. Star freshman Carli Fernandez caught a 17-yarder and the touchdown pass from 12 yards out.

“We were really happy to stay competitive with a playoff team,” Badin coach Jon Heintz said. “I’m happy with our season, we had a great time and these girls can really be proud.”

Down 6-0, the Wild Women drove down to the Badin 11-yard line under the direction of scrambling quarterback sophomore Amy Langnecker, who ran the ball for 44 yards and passed for another 25. However, the Badin defensive unit stood up in the red zone and forced Walsh to turn the ball over on downs.

The defenses continued to dominate the first half, and the next Bullfrog possession was a three-and-out, followed by a Langnecker pick, then another Badin three-and-out. Walsh was unable to drive on the final possession of the half, and walked off the field down a score.

“The defense got woken up by that first quick score,” Walsh coach Jeremiah Herman said. “After that they really got into gear, and have shown continuing improvement.”

But Walsh wasted little time tying things up in the second half. Walsh, led by Langnecker, moved 65 yards for the tying touchdown. Junior flex back Meghan Hadley finished the drive with a 3-yard run, tying the score.

As the second half wound down, neither team was able to sustain a scoring drive. In the last two minutes of play, both teams tried long passing plays, but came up unsuccessful. The Wild Women threatened in the end, but an interception by mediocre defensive back Deirdre Krasula, an Assistant Managing Editor for The Observer, secured the tie for Badin.

“We are in the playoffs, which is key,” Walsh coach Chris Cugliani said. “Today we shot ourselves in the foot a few times, so in the playoffs we’re going to take care of our responsibilities.”

Farley 0, Lewis 0

It was a defensive battle between Farley and Lewis Sunday as neither team, despite some promising drives, got into the end zone, and the game ended in a tie.

The Finest (2-2-2) entered the game knowing that it would have playoff implications. Despite some strong play at quarterback from Emily Murphy, Farley failed to convert on third downs, causing them to punt on four occasions.

Lewis assistant coach Christian Galvan praised his Chicks’ defense, which intercepted Murphy twice.

“We have great respect for Farley, and the fact that our defense was able to stay with them throughout the game is a great accomplishment,” Galvan said.

Lewis (1-4-1) was coming in off its first win of the season earlier in the week. Despite their inability to qualify for the playoffs, the Chicks came out with the same drive that they had all season. While their defense kept them in the game against the explosive Finest, their offense, like Farley’s, had trouble generating much success. Farley’s defense registered three interceptions, one of which came in the red zone, and a sack.

“We started off slow, but we hung tough,” Lewis captain Kristie Shushinsky said. “Our defense was outstanding, and we moved the ball. We just kept coming up a few yards short.”