The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Men’s Interhall Football: Sorin remains undefeated

Megan Finneran, Chris Allen, Lex Dennis, Barrick Bollman and Kevin Baldwin | Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In the final match up before the playoffs, both Sorin (3-0-1) and St. Edward’s (2-2) believed a win was essential to advance their seasons. In the end, it was the Otters who took control of their fate with a 14-0 victory.

With a little over a minute left in the second quarter, freshman receiver Ryan Robinson caught a long fourth-down pass from senior quarterback Casey McGushin in the end zone, scoring the first touchdown for the Otters.

“It was great,” Robinson said. “I had to look hard to find the pass, but it was a great play by the quarterback.”

From there, the momentum only increased with another touchdown early in the second half on a long run right up the middle by sophomore Matt Pepe, who went untouched after bursting by the defense. After a missed extra point following the first touchdown, a successful two-point conversion pass to senior receiver Jeremy Bruck brought the score up to 14-0.

“We have yet to give up a point this year, and we weren’t about to let it happen today in our last game of the season,” freshman linebacker Colin King said.

The Gentlemen had a few opportunities to score, but were never able to capitalize.

Their best opportunity came with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, when a fumble by Sorin was recovered by the Gentlemen, who quickly moved the ball downfield. But on fourth-and-goal, a Sorin interception by Bruck ended any chance for a St. Edward’s score or victory.

Sorin remains not only still standing, but continues with a strong record free of losses. During the regular season, they outscored their opponents 48-0.

“Defense wins championships, and our defense can play with anybody,” junior defensive end John Zic said. “Run, pass, we don’t care. We just love to hit.”
Sorin will meet Siegfried Sunday in the playoffs, and St. Edward’s will face top seed Stanford.

Siegfried 14, Duncan 0
In a must-win game, Siegfried (2-1-1) rode a smothering defensive effort and a strong ground game to a 14-0 win over Duncan (0-3-1).

Going into the game, the Ramblers knew their best route into the playoffs was a win followed by a Morrissey win over Knott in the following game.

The Ramblers wasted no time in taking care of their own destiny as the defense forced Duncan to fumble close to its own end zone near the end of the first quarter. Sophomore running back Mike Isaacs quickly capitalized on the opportunity, reaching the end zone on a run around the right end.

Though the Ramblers struggled to pass the ball, Siegfried junior quarterback Matt Meinert said runs like Isaacs’ helped to define the team in the game.

“The game plan we come into every game with is to play tough and run the ball,” Meinert said. “We want to play smash mouth football.”

Duncan’s attempts to answer were hindered by false start penalties and a swarming Siegfried defense that made moving the ball difficult. The Ramblers got defensive pressure on Duncan freshman quarterback Chris Palmquist and harassed Duncan’s receivers all game.

“We played a team game, a real team effort,” Meinert said. “Everybody did their job on defense and stayed home. We didn’t give up any big plays.”

After the half, Siegfried padded its lead with a touchdown drive down the length of the field.

The drive was punctuated by a long touchdown run by freshman running back David Whitmore to put the Ramblers up 14-0.

Although Knott defeated Morrissey, Siegfried still squeezed into the playoffs, earning the No. 7 seed. The Ramblers will play Sorin Sunday at 2 p.m.

Knott 21, Morrissey 0
Knott defeated Morrissey 21-0 Sunday to solidify a playoff berth.

After a scoreless first half, the Knott defense quickly put points on the board to open the second half when senior cornerback Jeff Skorup intercepted a Morrissey pass and returned the pick for a touchdown.

“I recognized my opportunity to be aggressive because I was in man coverage,” Skorup said. “I read the quarterback’s eyes and made a good break on the football.”

Morrissey’s offense continued to show little life after the demoralizing interception.  A lack of execution and intensity showed itself in low snaps, line breakdowns and mental lapses that hampered the team’s progression.  On the defensive side of the ball, Morrissey could not find an answer to the efficient pass game established by the Juggerknotts (3-0-1).

Knott continued to advance the ball through the air, and a revitalized receiving package aided their second half success.

“We’ve always had a balanced attack, and we stuck to our game plan,” Knott senior captain Aidan Fitzgerald said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The Juggerknotts’ defense was just as effective.  After Knott scored a touchdown on the ground, Morrissey (3-1) got the ball with some hope remaining of pulling themselves back into the game. However, Knott’s iron defense forced a punt after a few short downs.

The Juggerknotts proceeded to march down the field, and Fitzgerald sealed the win with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Skorup.

“This game was huge for us because we faced elimination,” Fitzgerald said. “It was a win or die situation, and we’re still standing.”

Knott will play Carroll in the first round of the playoffs Sunday, and Morrissey will meet Dillon.
O’Neill 6, Keough 0  
In the battle for West Quad superiority, O’Neill outlasted an attempted Keough comeback for a 6-0 victory.

With nearly seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, O’Neill freshman quarterback Chris Delillo connected with sophomore receiver Julian Murphy to reach the Keough 7-yard line.  However, on the next play, Delillo fumbled on a quarterback dive, giving the Kangaroos the ball with time to score.

The Angry Mob defense was not deterred, forcing a fumble after a 20-yard Keough completion.   

As O’Neill (1-3) attempted to run down the clock, the Kangaroo defense came up big, forcing a three-and-out and a short punt.  Entering the two-minute drill, Keough senior quarterback Matt Bruggeman went to the air, converting a fourth-and-15 to bring the Kangaroos (1-3) to the O’Neill 40-yard line with less then a minute remaining.

In dramatic fashion, the Angry Mob defense came up big again, forcing Bruggeman’s fourth down pass attempt to senior wideout Joe Maier to fall incomplete.   

“They ran most of the same stuff the whole game, so we figured they would throw outs and hitches,” Delillo said.  “We had a good pass rush from our defensive line to pressure their quarterback to scramble and our backfield made plays on the ball.”

Bruggeman credited the O’Neill defense for playing well and said it simply came down to making the big play, which the Kangaroos were unable to do.

The game’s outcome could have easily been different.  Keough began the game with a long offensive drive, dominated by Bruggeman and the passing game.  On fourth down, Bruggeman threw a perfect pass to Maier in the end zone.  Unfortunately for the Kangaroos, Maier’s catch was ruled out of bounds.

“That was a definitely a heartbreaker,” Bruggeman said. “But from that point on we had to make plays.”

On the ensuing possession, O’Neill drove down the field with effective use of the passing game.  Murphy capped the drive off with a touchdown reception.  Although the extra point was blocked, the Angry Mob would only need the six points for victory.

Although neither team made the playoffs, they both took a positive view on the season. O’Neill was finally able to get a victory, one made even sweeter because it was over a rival. Keough has turned their program around for the future with a victory and a couple close finishes relying on young talent.
Stanford 8, Keenan 6
The Chapel of the Holy Cross between Stanford and Keenan will carry a new name this year as undefeated Stanford beat Keenan 8-6 in a characteristically close edition of the annual rivalry game.

“We came out and fought hard today… everyone had a good time,” Keenan sophomore captain Terry Mahoney said. “We are going to come out next year knowing that we have some weapons.”

The game picked up quickly in the second quarter when Stanford junior quarterback Tony Rizzo connected a 20-yard pass to sophomore Griffin Naylor leaping over three defenders for the unlikely first and goal.

“Griffin’s catch was big,” senior captain Chris Gill said. “[He] played phenomenally at wide receiver.”

Two downs later, another pass to Naylor scored the first touchdown of the game. The Griffins (4-0) then confounded the defense by faking the extra point kick and throwing to junior Dave Galiyas for the two-point conversion.

After a missed field goal attempt and an intense defensive struggle through the third quarter, the Knights (1-3) put some points on the board after a series of crucial passing gains between freshman quarterback Trevor Yerrick and freshman Andrew McDonough that culminated in the team’s only touchdown. Unfortunately, the attempted two-point conversion sailed out of reach of the intended receiver, an error that would ultimately decide the game.

In the fourth quarter, Keenan’s defense was able to contain the Griffins’ passing game by overwhelming their offensive line and putting pressure on the quarterback. Senior left guard Alex Deak was essential to this effort and was responsible for a critical sack that forced Stanford into punting with a minute remaining, giving the Knights offense one last shot at victory, but the game ended with no added points.

With Sunday’s loss Keenan is now out of the playoff race, concluding an up-and-down season.

“I’m disappointed with the overall season but we played great today, even though we didn’t win in the end,” Mahoney said. “[We’re] looking forward to next season.”

For the Griffins, however, the season is not over. They go into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed and will face St. Edwards in the first round.

“We’ll continue doing what we’re doing and hopefully everyone will be back [healthy] next week,” Gill said.
Zahm (0-4) forfeited its scheduled game Sunday against Fisher (1-2-1). This was the Green Waves’ first win since 2007, but did not impact the playoff picture.