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Women’s Interhall Football: Pangborn starts off season with complete domination

Chris Allen, Adam Llorens, Andrew Gastelum, David Kenney, Ian Garrahy and Laura Coletti | Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pangborn 40, Badin 6

A steady stream of defensive pressure that led to four interceptions powered Pangborn to a season-opening 40-6 rout of Badin on Sunday at LaBar Fields.

The game, which served as the opening contest of the 2010 women’s Interhall football schedule, got off to a quick start as senior quarterback Gabby Tate marched the Phoxes (1-0) down the field quickly against the Bullfrogs’ (0-1) inexperienced defensive corps. Tate finished off the opening drive with a touchdown run to give Pangborn an early lead.

Sophomore offensive lineman Colleen Bailey credits last year’s disappointing season for the positive momentum Pangborn opened the game with.

“Since the end of last season, we all agreed that we really wanted to go to the [championship game in Notre Dame] Stadium,” Bailey said. “That helped us come out of the gate with a great attitude in this first game.”

The defensive unit ensured that Pangborn’s early lead would remain intact as the Phoxes harassed Badin junior quarterback Sylvia Banda all day, leading to four interceptions. Sophomore Diana Bartone accounted for three of the interceptions, while her fellow sophomore Annie Castner added the fourth. Bartone and Castner each returned an interception for a touchdown.

“We definitely had great pressure on the quarterback,” Bailey said. “But Diana just seems to have a special talent for finding the ball in the air and picking it off. That shouldn’t take away from our line; we do have a great defensive line.”

After Tate completed a touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Liz Pawlak for a 27-0 halftime lead, the Phoxes played the second half looking to protect their lead. Badin’s lone touchdown in the game came after an interception by sophomore Kerri Whelan that she returned deep into Pangborn territory, giving the Bullfrogs great field position.

The defensive effort from Whelan wasn’t enough however, as Pangborn continued to pile on points with their experienced offensive attack en route to the big win. Bailey believes experience will be key for Pangborn as they look to join the elite of women’s Interhall.

“On both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, we have great leaders,” Bailey said. “Going into the game we knew that this was a new year for us and we were ready.”

Badin will get back in action against defending champion Howard next Sunday, while Pangborn has a bye week before facing Howard on Sept. 26.

Howard 18, Lewis 6

The defending women’s interhall champions Howard were back to their usual winning ways Sunday, defeating Lewis 18-6.

The defenses dominated in the early going until Howard (1-0) senior quarterback Caitlin Robinson threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to her 6-foot-1 sophomore receiver Laura Coletti. The chemistry between the two players was on display again early in the second half when Robinson threw a perfect goal-line fade route pass to Coletti for their second score of the game.

“In addition to my height, our coaches called a great play down there,” Coletti said.

The friendship between Robinson and Coletti is apparent both on and off the field.

“Living across the hall, we have always looked out for one another,” Robinson said. “Laura is a great team player, and our shared desire of winning makes it all the better.”

Looking to answer Coletti’s touchdown grabs, Lewis sophomore quarterback Connaught Blood challenged the stout Howard defense by running multiple draw and option plays. The Chicks’ offense, led by Blood and sophomore lineman Taylor Sticha, was able to produce one scoring drive, capped off by a Blood touchdown scramble, but it was not enough to pull even.

The new offensive strategy, implemented by Ducks’ head coach Fritz Schoenhut, seemed to throw off the Lewis (0-1) defense. Their offense confused the Lewis defense by lining up in a different formation for each play. In addition to the multiple formations, the hurry-up style offense had the Lewis defense in shambles at times, as touchdown-saving tackles from sophomore linebacker Mara Catlaw and sophomore safety Katie Hennessy on Coletti receptions kept Lewis from falling even further behind. In the end, Howard had a total of nine plays of over 25 yards, while the Chicks only managed five.

Schoenhut said the win gave Howard the Ducks confidence as they look ahead to their next game against Badin.

“When I think of Howard football, I look up to the sky and think that must be the limit,” Schoenhut said. “I expect nothing less than our accomplishments from last year. We are looking to repeat, and our quest to return to glory has begun.”

Howard will face Badin next Sunday, while Lewis will face Pasquerilla East in the Pyros’ first game.

PW 26, Welsh Fam 6

Last year, Pasquerilla West ended the season with a sour taste in its mouth after losing to perennial power Howard in the championship game. But in their opener Sunday, the Purple Weasels displayed their desire for a return to the title game in a dominating 26-6 win over Welsh Family at the LaBar Fields.

Wielding its deceptive triple-option offense, P.W. (1-0) moved up and down the field with relative ease, controlling time of possession and racking up 150 yards of offense on an aggressive Welsh Family (0-1) defense. But the real story came from the crippling P.W. defense, which held the Whirlwinds to minus-17 yards of rushing and only 49 total yards.

“The defense came out to play today just as we expected. We are here to show that we are the best in the league.” Purple Weasels coach Ryan Hawley said. “We showed what we are all about, which is playing as one defensive unit.”

The P.W. defense was nothing less than spectacular, not allowing a single yard in the second half until two minutes remaining, when the game was already wrapped up.

Offensively, the day belonged to sophomore running back/wide receiver Alice Yerokun, who gained 105 yards of total offense, using her speed to maneuver around defenders.

“I definitely could not have done it without my team, especially [senior quarterback] Simone Bigi,” Yerokun said. “She was the one that set up the plays and everyone else just kept working to help the team.”

Despite its offensive inconsistency, Welsh Family fought to stay in the game with a 45-yard touchdown pass early on in the first half to tie the game at six. That was the closest they would get, though, as the Whirlwinds were shut out for the remainder of the game. Though Pasquerilla West held a 13-6 halftime lead, a Whirlwind comeback looked possible as Welsh Family made two consecutive defensive stands, but was never able to mount anything on the offensive side of the ball with minus-2 yards of total offense in the second half, falling short of coach Bobby Sullivan’s call to perfection.

“I expect nothing but perfection out there today,” Sullivan said before the game. “We thought we had more time to practice and we have a new offense this year but we will make it work.”

Rather, Pasquerilla West side was closer to perfection and added new meaning to its slogan “West is Best” as they scored two touchdowns in the last two minutes to seal the win and crush the hopes of the anemic Welsh Family offense.

Despite the successful opening to the season, Hawley is trying to keep his eyes on the prize following the opening win.

“No one is going to stop us this year,” Hawley said. “We are going to get back to the championship game and the girls know that. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be here now.”

Welsh Family will enjoy a bye week next weekend, while P.W. will look to extend their win streak to two against McGlinn on Sunday.

McGlinn 12, Ryan 0

In a classic quarterback duel, McGlinn junior quarterback Lauren Miller bested Ryan sophomore Maya Pillai in a 12-0 Shamrock win.

Both McGlinn (1-0) and Ryan (0-1) had trouble crossing the goal line in the first half. McGlinn’s offense relied early and often on the passing prowess of Miller. She showed off her strong arm numerous times in the first half, tossing deep incomplete passes down the field as the Shamrocks looked to break through and get on the scoreboard.

McGlinn’s fortunes changed early in the second half of the scoreless contest. On the second offensive drive of the half, Miller tossed a 67-yard deep ball to sophomore Emily Golden, who caught the ball in stride and sprinted in for a touchdown to give the Shamrocks a 6-0 lead.

“We had been emphasizing short passes and routes for most of the drive up to that point, so we decided to try a deep pass,” Miller said. “Emily ran a perfect route and all I had to do was toss her the ball.”

On the next drive, Pillai made two big gains immediately, but both were called back due to penalties, which plagued Ryan all day. After some dangerous gains by the Wildcats, the Shamrock defense began to bear down, led by their ball-hawking defensive backfield. Sophomore defensive back Caitlin Day led the effort, picking off Pillai and running the ball back for a crucial touchdown to give McGlinn a 12-0 lead.

The McGlinn defense intercepted another pass later in the half, and held off the Ryan offensive attack for the remainder of the game to preserve the season-opening victory.

Pillai said the Wildcat players were upset about the loss, but behind her dual-threat ability, they hope to improve in the coming weeks in only their second season.

“We have a lot to improve on,” Pillai said. “But we are better than last year and we had good offensive movement today.”

Ryan will look to get in the win column against Walsh next Sunday, while McGlinn will square off with Interhall powerhouse Pasquerilla West.

Farley 6, Lyons 0

Farley took advantage of strong defensive play and one timely touchdown pass to down Lyons 6-0 Sunday.

Farley senior Molly Casanova, nicknamed “One Big Play” by the Finest’s coaching staff, caught a pass across the middle and ran 80 yards for a touchdown with only two minutes left in the first half for the game’s only score. The Finest (1-0) were unable to convert the two-point conversion, but were able to make the big offensive play stand up for the rest of the game.

“We want to score early and often because the team that would score more points would have a better opportunity to win,” Farley coach Kevin Ritt said at the beginning of the game.

Despite Ritt’s wishes, the game started as a defensive battle, and both offenses struggled early. The game was scoreless until Farley senior quarterback Emily Murphy threw the touchdown pass to Casanova to put the Finest on the scoreboard.

Farley carried the momentum from the scoring play into the second half, and had a strong drive after back-to-back 15-yard completions from Murphy to senior wide receiver Kelly Weber. On the next play, Murphy went back to Casanova for a 20-yard pass, followed by another completion from Murphy to junior wide receiver Katelyn Vitale for 30 yards. Farley made it all the way to the goal line, but was whistled for penalties on two consecutive plays to push the ball back to the 30-yard line.

Capitalizing on the miscues, the Lions (0-1) stopped Farley’s momentum with an interception and 40-yard return by junior Carolyn Henderson. On Lyons’ first play of the drive, however, Farley’s Claire Kuney intercepted Lyons’ quarterback Christina Biamanti. The Finest were unable to capitalize, though, and punted with eight minutes remaining.

Down by only six, Lyons still had a chance to win, but the clock would turn out to be its worst enemy. Biamanti threw a 20-yard strike to sophomore Kara Mathis followed by a 20-yard run by senior Neva Lundy. Unfortunately for the Lions, Lundy’s run was called back after she was penalized for lowering her shoulder into Farley’s defense. After the setback, Biamanti fired a 20-yard pass to junior Carolyn Henderson. With Lyons knocking on the door, Farley junior linebacker Katie Smith intercepted Biamanti to secure the win for her squad.

The Finest were happy with a win, and were pleased with the opening win.

“We played really well and we just have to keep working. The defense played really well including Elise Jordan, Analise Althoff, and Katie Smith,” Ritt said. “Our offensive line started off slow, but improved as the game went on. Overall, we look pretty good this year.”

Farley will be back in action facing off against Cavanaugh next week, while Lyons will look to get in the win column against Breen-Phillips.

Cavanaugh 6, BP 0

In an opening game that featured a young Breen-Phillips facing a defensively stout Cavanaugh team, one play made the difference as Cavanaugh squeaked out a 6-0 victory.

The Chaos’ (1-0) first drive was stifled by the Babes’ (0-1) stingy defense, but they found their breakthrough moment midway through the first half when junior quarterback Rebecca Cink connected with senior wide receiver Holly Hinz in the right corner of the end zone. On the play, Cink set up as a receiver, and took a pitch on the left side of the field. Once she got the ball, Cink drifted to the right, where Hinz had broken free of her defender and was wide open to haul in the touchdown pass.

“We were just trying to find open looks and come off of the first half strong,” Hinz said.

After being taking the lead, the Cavanaugh defense made it stick for the remainder of the game, holding Breen-Phillips scoreless by pressuring the quarterback and knocking down numerous pass attempts. Two interceptions helped the Chaos keep the game scoreless. In the first half, senior Mary Kate Howard kept Cavanaugh’s momentum going by picking off a pass on BP’s very first play after Cavanaugh’s touchdown. In the second half, senior Sara Harker intercepted a pass on BP’s opening drive. Hinz was complimentary of the way her team’s defensive unit played.

“They played strong and carried us through the entire game,” Hinz said. “They did everything that was asked of them and more.”

The Babes still took a lot away from their first game of the season with a young squad. Freshman southpaw Sienna Combs started at quarterback, and proved that she had range and running ability. Their defense proved strong for the most part, getting many sacks and coming up with a big interception in Cavanaugh’s end zone, preventing a touchdown.

As for their goals for the year, the focused and experienced Cavanaugh team has its eye on the prize.

“We’re looking to make it to the [championship game in Notre Dame] Stadium,” Cink said. “For now, though, we just have to take it one game at a time.”

Both teams will be back in action next Sunday, as BP takes on Lyons, while Cavanaugh will face off with Farley.