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Men’s Interhall: Knott uses fourth-quarter heroics to beat Dawgs 3-0

Nick Boyle, Mike Monaco, Scott Frano, Andrew Cardoza, James Southard, Ernst Cleofe | Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Knott took a huge step toward securing a playoff spot Sunday as the Juggerknotts edged out a hard-fought 3-0 win over Alumni.

The game ended dramatically, as Knott sophomore cornerback Joe McGillicuddy intercepted Alumni freshman quarterback Tyler Barron in the end zone on the final play of the game to seal the win for the Juggerknotts (2-1).

“That interception was just Joe being Joe,” Knott senior captain and running back Dan Shaffer said. “He just played football, was in a good position, made a great play on the ball and won us the game.”

The majority of the game was played between the 30-yard lines, as both teams featured hard-nosed running offenses coupled with strong defenses.

In a back-and-forth first half, neither team looked likely to score until Knott turned to a two-quarterback system on its final drive of the half. The Juggerknotts used a combination of junior Jake Coleman and freshman David Taiclet at quarterback on a successful two-minute drive that culminated with a 21-yard field goal as the half expired.

After the Knott score, Alumni (2-2) came back to dominate the ball in the second half, only allowing the Juggerknotts 12 yards of total offense while maintaining possession for the entire fourth quarter. Led by the power running of senior running back Dan Dansdill, the Dawgs drove the length of the field to the Knott 7-yard line, only to be thwarted by McGillicuddy’s last second interception.

“This was a tough one to lose,” Alumni sophomore running back Kevin Rolfs said. “We played well. Sometimes things just don’t go your way.”

Alumni’s regular season is finished, but Knott will look to secure a playoff spot when it takes on Morrissey on Oct. 30.

Contact Nick Boyle at nboyle1@nd.edu

Carroll 14, Sorin 14


After falling behind 14-0 in the first half, Carroll rebounded in the second half to tie Sorin 14-14 in a matchup of likely playoff teams.

The Otters (2-0-1) got the scoring started in the first quarter with a four-yard touchdown run by senior running back Matt Pepe. Sorin went 66 yards in 11 plays on its next drive, which culminated with a 13-yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Ted Spinelli. The Otters did much of their damage on the ground, running the ball on 15 of 17 plays in the first half.

“In the first half we really commanded our offense,” Pepe said. “For the most part, we ran the ball well. We put in a couple new packages [before the game] and we had some success running counters.”

Carroll (2-1-1) struggled offensively in the first half and had two drives end with turnovers in Sorin territory. The second half was a different story, as the Vermin scored on their first offensive play when senior running back Nick Tammerine rushed 50 yards for a touchdown.

Carroll then came up with an interception to get the ball back. After driving down to the 4-yard line, the Vermin faced 4th-and-goal. Tammerine took a halfback toss to the left side, where he threw to wide-open sophomore receiver Bobby Dorman in the back of the end zone to tie the game.

“That touchdown was a great play call,” junior captain Keith Marrero said. “We knew that they knew our run was working and they had been defending our passes well, so we got them with [the halfback pass].”

Both defenses stepped up down the stretch and the game ended in a tie.

Carroll and Sorin will both likely make the playoffs, but they have bigger goals than just a post-season berth.

“Hopefully we’ll be in [Notre Dame Stadium] at the end of the year,” Pepe said.

Carroll echoed a similar sentiment.

“We have our eyes on the ultimate prize — getting to [Notre Dame Stadium],” Marrero said.

Carroll’s regular season is complete, while Sorin plays St. Edward’s on Oct. 30.

Contact Mike Monaco at jmonaco@nd.edu

St. Edwards 10, Zahm 0


St. Edward’s defeated Zahm 10-0 in a rather lighthearted affair Sunday afternoon.

The first half was a mostly defensive battle until Gentleman sophomore quarterback Paul Martin Rodriguez led a late drive to set up a 31-yard field goal, giving St. Edward’s (2-1) a 3-0 lead. Junior receiver Connor Ryan was instrumental on the drive, making two key catches to get in field goal range.

A 3-yard touchdown pass from Rodriguez to senior receiver Joey Ricioli made the final score 10-0 in favor of St. Edward’s. Rodriguez was also effective rushing the ball, especially on a play he referred to as “beaching the whale.”

“It’s basically a quarterback sneak,” Rodriguez said. “It’s called ‘beaching the whale’ because I think I’m bigger than most of the offensive linemen on our team.”

Zahm (0-3) tried to run the ball all game but failed to get anything going. The Zahmbies switched to a “Wildcat” offense on their last possession, but still had no luck. Senior linebacker Greg Bennett, better known as the “Magician,” revealed the mutinous reason for the switch.

“What we call that is a ‘Mutiny on the Zahm,'” Bennett said. “A ‘Mutiny on the Zahm’ implies a coup d’etat against Colin Casey, senior captain and running back. We had to put in the sparkplug, and that is Greg Bennett.”

Zahm will try and get a win in its last game Oct. 30 against Fisher. St. Edward’s will look to cement a playoff spot the same day against Sorin.

Contact Scott Frano at sfrano@nd.edu

Siegfried 28, Morrissey 6


Siegfried running backs junior David Whitmore and senior Michael Isaacs looked nearly unstoppable in a 28-6 rout over Morrissey.

Whitmore and Isaacs combined for 164 rushing yards and two touchdowns, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the Ramblers’ (3-0) offense. Whitmore and Isaacs know that their offensive line played a major role in their success.

“Our offensive line played unbelievable,” Whitmore said. “When you have wide open holes with a combination of running hard, it’s going to lead to success.”

Isaacs credits the Ramblers’ success over The Manor (0-3) to their defense and key adjustments.

“Our defense played well,” Isaacs said. “They shut the door on Morrissey’s passing offense and made the key adjustments in the second half which allowed us to be a force.”

The Ramblers defense gave up only 191 total yards of offense and also caused two turnovers, one of which was an interception returned for a touchdown.

Meanwhile Morrissey, which has relied heavily on its passing offense this season, struggled to find a way to stop the relentless Siegfried defense.

Morrissey had many bright spots, though. The Manor accounted for their first offensive points of the year on a 37-yard touchdown reception by sophomore running back Nick Conrad.

Morrissey thinks it will bring a lot to the table next week.

“We will play for pride next week against a tough Knott team,” junior captain Alex Oloriz said.

Siegfried will look to go undefeated Oct. 30 when it plays Duncan, while Morrissey will look to avoid a winless season when it faces Knott.

Contact Andrew Cardoza at acardoza@nd.edu

Dillon 35, Keough 0


Dillon wrapped up its regular season with a 35-0 dismantling of Keough.

Dillon (3-1) made its case for the playoffs stronger with a dazzling offensive display and a lockdown performance by the defense. The dynamic duo of sophomore quarterback Kevin Fink and junior running back Terry Howard combined for five touchdowns, four of which came in the first half. Howard had 160 rushing yards.

“On offense, all credit goes to the offensive line,” Fink said.

The Big Red defense came away with two interceptions, one of which came during Keough’s only red zone trip. At one point, Keough was on the Dillon 1-yard line, but the defense held firm and forced a turnover immediately after a big sack.

“Our defense really set the tone today,” Fink said. “They came out firing on all cylinders.”

Keough (0-3) struggled to find its offensive rhythm in the first half, failing to reach the red zone until the third quarter. The Kangaroo offense threatened to score, but could not convert.

“[Sophomore quarterback] Seamus Donegan stepped up in the pocket late,” junior captain Robert Toole said, crediting his teammate for his efforts.

The Kangaroo defense had its strong moments, forcing a Dillon fumble on the first play of the second half and allowing only one score in the second half. However, the Dillon offense overwhelmed Keough for the majority of the game, amassing 322 total yards.

“After fall break, we want to win just one, and we’re confident that we can beat O’Neill,” Toole said.

Dillon’s regular season is over and they wait for a potential playoff appearance. Keough will play O’Neill on Oct. 30.

Contact James Southard jsouthar@nd.edu

Stanford 8, O’Neill 6


Stanford picked up a boost to its playoff hopes with an 8-6 victory in a grueling game against O’Neill.

Despite a defensive battle, both teams had bright spots on offense. Stanford quarterback Charlie Fiessinger showed flashes passing downfield, while the O’Neill running game was successful.

“Our running back, [sophomore] Jon Savakus, really did well today,” O’Neill junior captain Alex Brolick said. “And our offensive line gave him a lot of help.”

O’Neill (0-3) pushed ahead in the first half with senior quarterback Mike Wilbur connecting with senior receiver JP McCabe to put the Mob ahead 6-0.

In the fourth quarter, Stanford’s second half defensive changes helped force a Wilbur interception. The interception led to a 33-yard touchdown drive capped off by a Fiessinger pass.

“[The receiver] was a little open and I just saw it,” Fiessinger said. “And I just threw it up to him.”

The Griffins (2-1) then converted a two-point conversion for the 8-6 win.

“The big difference were the adjustments we made during halftime,” Stanford junior captain Paul Babiak said. “We didn’t do it in the first two games and finally we did and it worked.”

The win keeps Stanford alive in the playoff race.

“It’s a lot easier to make the playoffs 3-1 than it is 2-2,” Babiak said. “So today was huge.”

For O’Neill, the game was disappointing with a loss after a first half lead.

“It was a rough second half for us and they did a good job on adjustments,” Brolick said.

Despite another loss, the offensive line and running game gives the Mob a bright spot to look forward toward.

Stanford faces Keenan on Oct. 30 to secure a playoff position while O’Neill looks for its first win against Keough.

Contact Ernst Cleofe at ecleofe@nd.edu