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Highlanders, Dawgs hope to jumpstart offenses

Chris Allen, Andrew Owens, Katie Gabriel, Allan Joseph, Douglas Farmer, and Kaitlyn Murphy | Friday, September 25, 2009

Two teams looking to avenge shutout losses last week and pick up their first wins of the season will face each other when Alumni takes on Duncan Sunday.

Duncan, in its second season of interhall football, hopes to take a step towards building a successful interhall campaign. The Highlanders lost 7-0 Sunday against Knott.

“[Last] weekend’s game was tough,” sophomore captain Paul Scheel said. “But some good things definitely came out of it.”

The Highlanders hope that some altering of the playbook as well as further seasoning of the freshmen will help them put points on the scoreboard.

“This week we will tweak our play calling so we avoid those plays we don’t run well and we will try to stick to our bread and butter plays,” Scheel said.

Even though the score saw Alumni on the wrong end of a 22-0 outcome against Morrissey last Sunday, the young Dawgs see reason for optimism.

“Our offense was not as efficient as we know we’re capable of, although I saw a lot of potential in both the running and passing games,” junior captain and quarterback Pat Rushford said. “Our running back was averaging around five yards a pop.”

The Dawgs will be spurred on by the return of Rushford, who was absent in last week’s loss due to a mild case of swine flu.

“That’s why our offense didn’t really get going,” freshman linebacker Ryan Grojean said. “We’ll be better this week.”

Both teams are young, and will rely on the fast maturity of freshmen to propel them to better outcomes than they encountered the first weekend.

“We learned that the game is really sloppy at first,” Alumni freshman receiver Carlos Cortes said. “There weren’t that many penalties, but it takes a lot of getting used to.”

Duncan’s leadership expects the Dawgs to be pumped up for this weekend’s game.

“I expect Alumni to come out with a lot of intensity and passion as they look for their first win,” Scheel said. “We hope to match that intensity and take it to the next level.”

The two teams will meet in what promises to be a hard-hitting grudge match at Riehle Fields at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Keough vs. Dillon

Keough and Dillon meet this Sunday in a battle of teams who had very different beginnings in Week One.

The reigning division champion Big Red dominated O’Neill in every aspect of the game Sunday, winning 22-0, while the Knights lost a tough battle to Keough, 7-3.

“The key to beating Keenan is staying focused,” Dillon junior captain Jordan Smith said. “That should be pretty easy considering they were in the championship game last year. They are a good team.”

The Big Red rushing attack was able to control the game against O’Neill. The offensive line allowed Smith, freshman Terry Howard and sophomore Eric Herbert to run all over the Mob defense.

“We need to build on last weekend,” Smith said. “We’re going to do a few different things in the game and try to show something new.”

The Knights, meanwhile, will need to bounce back quickly if they want a shot at making it back to the championship game.

A first half score for Keough proved to be enough to top the Knights. The only points for Keenan come from a field goal by junior kicker Pablo Martinez. Their offense will have to work out the wrinkles in order to top the Big Red, who did not give up a point to O’Neill.

“We made a few adjustments on offense and we worked hard this week in practice,” sophomore captain Terry Mahoney said.

The Keenan defense does not need to make many adjustments. The Knights did not allow Keough to threaten after its initial score, and a pivotal interception by sophomore PJ McHugh gave the Keenan offense its best chance at a touchdown in the second half.

“We have to keep it balanced on offense and have the defense do what they did against Keough and we will be fine,” Mahoney said. “The team is ready to play Dillon this week.”

The two teams will battle it out Sunday at Riehle Field at 3:00 p.m. as the Big Red look to stay undefeated while the Knights will try to even up their record at 1-1.

Fisher vs. Carroll

Fisher and Carroll will renew a traditional rivalry when the teams face off Sunday.

Last week, the Green Wave suffered a shutout at the hands of Sorin with a final score of 14-0. Fisher left the field disappointed by the season opener after a controversial call by the officials robbed the Green Wave of a touchdown.

Despite the loss, Fisher is confident it can capitalize on mistakes and report to the field this weekend fully prepared to face Carroll. They are undeterred by the results of Carroll’s first game and are ready to deny the Vermin a second W.

The Vermin are coming off a close 7-6 win over St. Ed’s and are confident that they will be celebrating a continued winning record this Sunday night.

“Our defense is impregnable,” sophomore coach Patrick Stanley said. “No one other than the Vermin will be touching [the end zone].”

Stanley is positive after how both his offense and defense performed last week, not to mention the key play made by junior defensive end Kris Kast. Kast blocked Sorin’s extra point, an effort that won the Vermin the game. The entire team is certain that they have both the ability and positive attitude not only to overcome Fisher, but eventually to make the interhall football trophy a home in Far Quad this year. For now though, the Vermin will focus on the task at hand.

“I know the guys from Fisher really want to get their hands on our [win],” junior quarterback Brian Vaio said. “But we politely decline.”

Fisher will face Carroll at 2:00 p.m. Sunday at Riehle field.

Knott vs. Siegfried

Sunday’s match-up between Knott and Siegfried will mark the latest edition of the Mod Quad rivalry as well as open this year’s Flanner Cup competition. The Flanner Cup is the annual competition between the two dorms in a variety of interhall events in which the winner receives naming rights to the hill separating the two buildings.

The Ramblers won last year’s football game as well as the 2008-2009 Flanner Cup, but change may be in the air.

“We lost most of our guys from last year, with only six to eight guys returning,” senior Siegfried captain Dex Cure said. “We’ve got a lot of freshmen who may not understand the rivalry.”

In addition, the Ramblers did not play in the first week of games, so they have a concern that they, especially their younger players, will not be up to speed in the early part of the game. The Juggerknotts aren’t going to take anything for granted, though.

“Siegfried’s a very good team,” Knott senior captain Aidan Fitzgerald. “But I think we’re much improved over last year, especially with some of our younger guys.”

Knott will look to its Fitzgerald at quarterback as well as to sophomore running back Houston Clark and senior wide receiver Jeff Skourp for improved scoring in the red zone, which was a concern in last week’s 7-0 victory over Duncan Hall.

The Juggerknott defense, especially the defensive line, will have to continue its impressive play to defeat Siegfried.

The Ramblers will look to junior quarterback Matt Meinert to help solve Knott’s stout defense, as well as their defense to contain Fitzgerald and the rest of the Juggerknott playmakers.

“It seems like it’ll be quite a challenge to just put points on the board,” said Cure. “Fitzgerald will also be quite a threat at quarterback.”

Both teams are sure to be more motivated than usual because of the magnitude of the rivalry game.

“I’d love to win every game,” said Fitzgerald. “But I’d like to win this one a little bit more.”

Siegfried and Knott face off at 1:00 p.m. at Riehle Field on Sunday.

Sorin vs. Zahm

Sorin will aim to replicate last weekend’s dominating victory when Sorin and Zahm play each other Sunday.

The Otters topped Fisher 14-0 as freshman quarterback Ted Spinelli completed two touchdown passes of over 50 yards.

“Ted is a powerful dual-threat quarterback that can make all the throws,” Sorin junior receiver Jon Beckerle said.

Sorin will need Spinelli to have a similar performance this week, as the team will be without sophomore Bobby Sullivan due to a case of turf toe.

“We’ll miss Bobby,” Beckerle said. “His being out will limit our ability to use the Wildcat formation.”

If Spinelli has trouble, the defense is confident it will be able to limit Zahm much like it limited Fisher, if not even more so.

“[Junior defensive end] John Zic was utterly absent in the pass rush in week one,” Beckerle said. “We’ve done some things to scheme around his struggles so we’ll see how that works out.”

Beckerle said the rest of the defensive line, anchored by junior Matt Gamber and freshman Ryan Robinson, was dominant against Fisher.

In order to overcome the vaunted Otters’ defense, Zahm will rely on a new-look offense which has raised hopes for the team after last season’s 1-2-1 finish.

“We’re definitely hoping for a championship, but the whole team is revamped, so I just hope we can come out with a good start and build on that,” senior captain Jarred Carter said.

The majority of revamping is on the offensive side of the ball.

“We have a different set of receivers,” Carter said. “The quarterback position might be a concern but we’ll see Sunday.”

Junior Jack Peterson will start at quarterback for Zahm.

“I’m just hoping he can execute,” Carter said. “This is his first year playing interhall football.”

Carter points to a strong defense and running game to keep Zahm in games while the passing game works out its kinks.

“[Sorin] scored last week with two big passing plays, so we’ll try to take that out,” Carter said. “We’ll shut down their run, force them to pass, and then take that away.”

Zahm will attempt to equal last season’s win total Sunday against Sorin at Riehle Field at 1:00 p.m.

Stanford v. Keough

Stanford knows good fundamentals are the foundation for a successful football season, and the Griffins intend to employ this philosophy in its season opener against Keough Sunday.

“We’re looking to go out there and hopefully put some points on [the] board and keep them from scoring,” Stanford senior captain Chris Gill said. “Pretty much just [play] basic football.”

Stanford finished the 2008 season 2-1-1 and Gill was optimistic about this year’s squad. The Griffins look to many returning players on the defensive side of the ball to keep opposing offenses at bay. Stanford’s offense is led by a new quarterback, junior Tony Rizzo.

Gill said the team is more than ready to go.

“We’re excited to play Keough,” he said. “Hopefully we match up well against them.”

The Kangaroos (1-0) will look to their cornerbacks and safeties to limit Rizzo and Stanford’s traditionally pass-happy offense.

“Last year, Stanford liked to pass the ball a lot,” sophomore captain Ryan Cordell said. “We expect to be tested in our secondary.”

Keough edged Keenan 7-3 last week in a defensive battle, and Cordell expected the same defensive intensity in Sunday’s showdown.

“We did a very nice job on defense, forcing key turnovers and creating a lot of pressure [last week],” Cordell said. “We expect to rise to the occasion.”

Stanford’s season will begin against Keough at kick off at 3 p.m. Sunday at Riehle Field.