Men’s Interhall: Strong defense lifts Alumni 6-0
Brendan Bell, James Southart, Scott Frano, and Mike Monaco | Monday, November 7, 2011
No. 7 Alumni 6, No. 2 Keenan 0
In the first round of the playoffs, No. 7 Alumni upset No. 2 Keenan in a defensive showdown.
The Dawgs (3-2) were in a stalemate with the Knights (4-1) until the fourth quarter, when senior running back Dan Dansdill punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to gain the lead.
“Keenan owned the first half,” Dansdill said. “We made some adjustments [in the second half] based off what they were giving us.”
With windy conditions, Alumni focused on running the ball for most of the game. Dansdill tallied 65 yards rushing for the Dawgs.
“We controlled the ground game,” Dansdill said. “We just wanted it more in the trenches.”
While both defenses forced turnovers throughout the game, Alumni sparked its offensive production late in the fourth quarter.
After running for most of the game, freshman quarterback Tyler Barron ran a play action pass and completed a fade route, bringing Alumni down to Keenan’s one-yard line and leading to the only touchdown of the game.
For Keenan, it was a disappointing ending to an undefeated regular season.
“It’s tough, I feel bad for our seniors,” junior quarterback Andrew McDonough said. “We all wanted to send them out with a championship and we failed in doing that.”
The Knights struggled to get things going offensively, as the Dawgs limited their offense to 120 total yards while forcing three turnovers. With two minutes left in the game, the Knights had one last chance to score, but gave the ball up while running a hook-and-ladder.
Overall, though, a lot of good things came out of the season for the Knights, McDonough said.
“It stinks to go out this way but we had a good season,” he said. “I wish Alumni good luck the rest of the way and we’ll be cheering for them.”
Keenan’s season is over, but Alumni will look to continue its success this weekend in the second-round of the playoffs against No. 3 Sorin.
Contact Brendan Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 3 Sorin 10, No. 6 Carroll 7
In an emotional contest full of big plays and huge stops, a single field goal made the difference as No. 3 Sorin edged No. 6 Carroll on Sunday.
The Otters (4-0-1) rallied behind their rock-solid passing offense and a strong defensive effort to oust Carroll (2-2-1) from the playoffs. Junior quarterback Ted Spinelli threw the go-ahead 55-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Brett Leahy.
Sorin junior Connor Wathen kicked the game-winning field goal despite a set of downs that included two sacks for Carroll.
“It feels great to be on the road to victory again,” Sorin junior wide receiver Ryan Robinson said. “We overcame some hiccups in our offense and played a good game.”
The Sorin defense maintained its composure all game, continually pressuring the Carroll offensive line. A late tackle for loss in the fourth quarter resulted in a big Carroll loss, and a Robinson interception proved to be of utmost importance to the team.
“We started off in our special ‘Leahy defense’ and played out of our minds,” Robinson said.
Carroll’s season came to an end, despite a herculean effort marked by defensive intensity and heart. On the Sorin drive that resulted in the winning field goal, Carroll had a goal line stand and forced the offense back nearly 10 yards before surrendering the field goal. The defense also came away with two interceptions on the day, a product of an excellent pass rush.
“Our defense really played a great game, seeing as they really contained the running game, and with the exception of the long touchdown pass, they allowed just three points,” junior captain Keith Marrero said.
The Vermin scored with just 20 seconds left in the first half after a 16-yard touchdown reception by Marrero tied the game. However, the team never completely recovered from a missed field goal that would have tied the score.
“I thought we played a great game, and I’d like to give our seniors a shout-out, including Mitch Speer, Nick Tammerine, and Kent Liederbach,” Marrero said. “Great game by Sorin, they played a heck of a game, and I can’t say enough about them.”
Sorin will take on No. 7 Alumni this Sunday.
Contact James Southard at email@example.com.
No. 1 Siegfried 14, No. 8 Stanford 7
David had Goliath on the ropes Sunday, but Goliath escaped for a last-second victory.
Down 7-6 with mere minutes to play, No. 1 Siegfried drove 77 yards to set up a 1-yard touchdown run from junior running back David Whitmore. Whitmore ran for 35 of the drive’s 77 yards. A two-point conversion made the final score 14-7, as No. 8 Stanford had almost no time to respond.
Siegfried (5-0) started the game well, as Whitmore scored on a 5-yard run on the game’s opening possession. But the extra point was blocked, and a howling wind made it hard for either team to move the ball effectively.
Stanford (2-3) took the lead in the fourth quarter on a 40-yard pass from freshman quarterback Charlie Fiessinger to junior receiver Jim Waclawik. The extra point made the score 7-6 in Stanford’s favor.
Siegfried came up with its second game-winning drive in two weeks, wrestling victory away at the end. Whitmore said his team became more focused once Stanford took the lead.
“We really had to get it going,” Whitmore said. “We played well on the first drive, and then we were sloppy. When we’re down it drives us to play better.”
Senior defensive end Mike Dineen admitted to being a little nervous after Stanford took the lead, but said he had confidence in his team.
“You always get a little nervous, especially in interhall when you don’t have a lot of time,” he said. “It was a really good wake-up call, like a boxer getting punched in the face. I was a little nervous, but I had confidence in my team to come out and do it.”
Junior linebacker Steve Oliva said the playoff loss was a good learning experience for his young team.
“We’re a team with only three seniors,” Oliva said. “We’re glad we made it this far. Being a No. 8 seed, we really wanted to win, but they just played a little harder than us.”
Stanford’s season is over with the loss, while Siegfried advances to face No. 5 Dillon this Sunday.
Contact Scott Frano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 5 Dillon 10, No. 4 Knott 0
No. 5 Dillon advanced to the second round of the playoffs after winning a 10-0 defensive scrum against No. 4 Knott.
The Big Red (4-1) were powered by a stout defense that held Knott (3-2) to three first downs and only 38 yards of offense. In addition to forcing two turnovers on downs, the Dillon defense had three takeaways. Two came in the form of interceptions by junior captain and defensive back Will Salvi. Salvi also broke up a pass on fourth down late in the fourth quarter, giving the ball back to the Big Red.
“On all three plays we were in deep coverages,” Salvi said. “They kept trying to go long, and I was just in a good position to make some plays.”
Dillon scored on its second drive of the game when junior kicker Matt Enzweiler connected on a 34-yard field goal. From there, the two defenses dominated the game.
In the fourth quarter, Big Red junior running back Terry Howard scampered 50 yards down the left sideline to make it 10-0.
The Big Red will face top-seeded Siegfried next week. To get a win over the top seed, Dillon knows it needs to improve its offense.
“We were very sloppy on offense,” Salvi said. “We really have got to work on that [for next week]. Against Siegfried, we can’t be one-dimensional. We need to have balance within our offense.”
The Knott offense struggled to find a rhythm, plagued by penalties and turnovers.
“Offensively, we just didn’t take care of the ball,” Knott senior captain Dan Shaffer said. “I lost count of how many times [we fumbled].”
The Juggerknotts had three turnovers in addition to five fumbles they recovered. Despite the end result, Shaffer was happy with how the team played.
“We really tried hard,” Shaffer said. “It was a good game to end on, minus the loss aspect of it. [Dillon] is a good team.”
Knott’s season is over while Dillon will face Siegfried (5-0) this Sunday in the semifinals.
Contact Mike Monaco at email@example.com