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Men’s Interhall: Siegfried, Dillon to clash

By Sam Gans and Matthew DeFrank | Friday, November 5, 2010

Something will have to give this week when No. 1 Dillon battles No. 5 Siegfried in a semifinal Sunday.

Dillon (5-0) is the only undefeated team left. Siegfried (4-1) is the two-time defending champions and is looking to make it to Notre Dame Stadium for the third straight year. Either Dillon’s winning streak or Siegfried’s consecutive years of championship runs will be snapped by mid-afternoon Sunday.

Siegfried is hoping to use a strong option attack led by senior quarterback Matt Meinert and sophomore running backs Bryce Burton and David Whitmore to propel them to victory. After dropping their third contest, the Ramblers have turned it on recently, winning their playoff opener by 25 points.

“I’ve been very pleased with how the team has performed as the season progressed,” Siegfried senior left tackle and captain Michael McDonnell said. “We’re going to come into the game with a bunch of confidence, expecting to win.”

Despite the confidence, the Ramblers are wary of the Big Red’s success this season, and know just how big of a challenge the game will be.

“You can’t refute the fact that they are perfect right now,” McDonnell said. “They’ve scored 72 points more than all their opponents. They’ll be the toughest opponent that we’ve faced so far.”

Dillon also expects a tough battle, given how much success the Ramblers have had in the playoffs in the past.

“They have won the past two championships,” Dillon senior captain Jordan Smith said. “They’re a big team with a really good system. If we do not play our best football, there’s a good chance we’ll lose.”

While Siegfried has kept the ball mostly on the ground to make the semis, Dillon uses both a strong passing game, led by freshman quarterback Kevin Fink, bolstered by a solid running game.

“We’ve got a lot of really good football players on our team,” Smith said. “[Sophomore running back] Terry Howard the last few weeks has run the ball extremely hard. Even if he’s getting hit in the backfield, he always gets back to the line of scrimmage and keeps on going.”

The Big Red are looking forward to a game that should be intense and physical.

“We’re really excited to play Siegfried,” Smith said. “They want to come out and hit us. This is going to be a fun game.”

Siegfried and Dillon square off at 1 p.m. at the LaBar Practice Complex on Sunday for a spot in the Stadium.

Alumni vs. Sorin

In the past, it’s been mouse traps and pool workouts. But this week, No. 2 Sorin’s football practices were even wackier.

“We’ve been practicing with leashes this week,” Sorin junior wide receiver Bobby Sullivan said.  “It helps out our power to work with resistance.”

Sorin (4-1), fresh off a 14-0 win over No. 7 Morrissey in the first round, will look for its fifth consecutive victory when the Otters play No. 3 Alumni in a semifinal this weekend.

While Sorin’s offense — directed by sophomore quarterback Ted Spinelli — gets the headlines, it is its defense that has keyed its win streak. In the past four games, the defense has not given up more than six points in a game and has held opponents to a mere two points per game.

“The Dawgs are in for a rough one this week,” Sullivan said.  “They’re barking up the wrong tree.”

The Otters’ offense, meanwhile, is averaging nearly 19 points a game during the win streak.  Senior captain and running back Michael Browder and junior fullback Matthew Pepe lead the charge.

“Browder and Pepe are going to tame the Dawg defense this week,” Sullivan said.

While Sorin has been cruising to victories, the Dawgs have been the kings of close games. Their 18-6 win over No. 6 Carroll in the first round was their first game this season decided by double digits.

Alumni (4-1) employs a triple option attack, orchestrated by freshman quarterback Will Cronin, that grinds down both the clock and defenses.  Junior running back tandem Dan Dansdill and Barrick Bollman also contribute heavily to the offense.

In the first round, the Dawgs did not throw a single pass on their way to 213 yards on the ground.  Time of possession also heavily favored Alumni.

The more Alumni has the ball, the less its great defense is on the field.  On the year, the Dawgs’ defense has not allowed more than eight points in a game and has held two opponents scoreless.

There will be no leashes on the field Sunday at 2 p.m. when Sorin takes on Alumni with a trip to Notre Dame Stadium on the line.