Men’s Interhall Football: Stadium Bound
John Helms and Kaitlyn Murphy | Tuesday, November 17, 2009
No. 7 Siegfried beat its rival, No. 3 Knott, 14-7 to keep its back-to-back title hopes alive. The victory Sunday gave the Ramblers a chance to defend their 2008 title in the Stadium next weekend.
The two teams tied earlier in the season and were both considered title contenders throughout the year. The Mod Quad rivalry reached a new level with a Stadium berth on the line.
“It means a lot to beat a team like Knott,” Siegfried senior captain Dex Cure said. “Knott is a great team, and we were happy to come away with a win. The fact that the win gets us into the Stadium means even more.”
Knott did not let Siegfried win the contest easily, putting points on the board early in the first half. Sophomore running back Houston Clarke ran into the end zone untouched on a counter play to give the Juggerknotts a 7-0 lead.
“We felt good. We moved the ball,” Knott senior captain and quarterback Aidan Fitzgerald said of the quick score. “We had momentum. We were optimistic.”
Knott’s defense shut down the Siegfried offense the first several possessions and continued to move the ball. Driving late in the second quarter, Knott looked to score again and maybe run away with the game before Siegfried sophomore Michael Isaacs turned the tide with an interception.
“Isaacs made a really amazing interception,” Cure said. “The team really fed off of that.”
Fitzgerald dropped back and looked to complete a 10-yard out pass. Isaacs jumped the route and made a spectacular diving interception keeping Knott from adding to their lead just before the half.
“I think we just became content and complacent (after the interception),” Fitzgerald said. “We weren’t playing Knott football we had been playing all year long.”
Siegfried came out in the second half looking like a new team. Led by freshmen David Whitmore and Matt Meinert and sophomores John Aversa and Will Geisecki, the Ramblers reeled off two impressive touchdown drives, taking the lead on an 18-yard run by quarterback Meinert.
“I just think the team was not ready to be done with football for the year,” Cure said. “We all came out and played as one unit, and it just happened to work out for us.”
The Ramblers can relish the win for now, but they know they have work to do yet if they want to defend their title.
“We know we are facing a really good team in St. Edward’s,” Cure said. “We lost to Morrissey, and they seemed to handle Morrissey just fine. It is going to be an incredible challenge.”
St. Edward’s 14, Morrissey 0
No. 8 St. Edward’s upset another higher seeded team in Morrissey to advance to the championship game next weekend. The Gentlemen’s defensive presence and strong aerial attacked secured the 14-0 victory.
Both of St. Edward’s touchdowns came in the second quarter and were converted after Manorite turnovers. The first score of the game was after sophomore Joey Ricioli recovered a fumble on Morrissey’s 32-yard line. The Gentlemen’s drive to the end zone was led by the efforts of sophomore running back Jay Mathes and a crucial fourth down conversion by junior quarterback Matthew Abeling. Abeling passed to freshman Zachary Siefring from five yards out for a 6-0 lead. Following the touchdown, St. Edward’s faked the extra point and instead completed an almost identical pass to Siefring to go up 8-0.
On the following Manorite drive, junior Dominick Fanelli recovered a bad snap on Morrissey’s 18-yard line. Abeling executed another pass to the right corner of the end zone, this time to senior Joe DeMott. This was the final time that either team would reach the end zone.
Gentlemen sophomore running back Jay Mathes spoke confidently about his team’s success in the post season.
“We didn’t really consider any of these games upsets, because we felt that we matched up well against both teams,” he said. “We were happy to get a second chance as the wild card in the playoffs and show what we can do.”
Mathes said St. Edward’s football has drastically changed over the past three years.
“We’re really happy to be in the Stadium, especially for a team that didn’t score for four straight years until the 2006 season,” he said.
While the Morrissey defense struggled to stop the Gentlemen’s red zone offense, it was their offensive turnovers that prevented the team from gaining any momentum or successful drives. Morrissey senior quarterback Danny Deveny had trouble connecting with his targets and their running game was incapable of making up for any needed yardage.
The Gentlemen hope to carry their offensive and defensive dominance of this game into the Stadium next Sunday. They will face another unlikely championship team, No. 7 Siegfried.