Men’s Interhall: Confident Keenan squad faces Dillon
By Alex Wilcox, Mary Green, Kyle Foley, Kit Loughran and Alex Stembaugh | Friday, September 14, 2012
Keenan vs. Dillon
By Alex Wilcox
For Keenan, the goal is simple: championship or bust. However, the defending champs, Dillon, might have something to say about that.
It’s only week one of the interhall football season, but Sunday’s game between Keenan and Dillon already has the billing to be the game of the season. Last year the Knights went undefeated in the regular season and were the highest scoring team in the league. Dillon’s only loss of last year came against Keenan in the regular season, before Dillon went on a run to win the championship.
Despite last year’s championship, Dillon is taking on an underdog mentality.
“New season, new team, we’re just trying to turn the page and start over,” Dillon junior captain Kevin Fink said. “We’ve got unproven players, an unproven team, and a lot to prove.”
If Dillon is the underdog, Keenan must be the favorite, a role the Knights embrace.
“We’re very confident, but not overconfident,” Keenan senior captain Andrew McDonough said. “We’ve had a fantastic two weeks of practice and are looking great. If we execute what we need to do, we’re optimistic.”
Led by McDonough at quarterback and senior receivers Alex Green, Trevor Yerrick, and Nate Carr, the Knights are brimming with confidence.
“We expect to win the championship, hands down,” McDonough said. “If we don’t win the championship it’ll be very disappointing. With the talent we have coming back and the new group of guys, it’s championship or bust. We fully expect to be playing in [Notre Dame] Stadium.”
Regardless of favorites or underdogs, both teams expect a hard-fought game.
“We know it’ll be a really good test for us,” Fink said from Dillon’s perspective.
McDonough echoed that same sentiment on behalf of Keenan.
“They’re a great team,” McDonough said. “We’re preparing like it’s the championship game.”
Dillon kicks off its title defense against high-powered Keenan on Sunday at 3:30 pm at Riehle Fields at Stepan.
Knott vs. Siegfried
By Mary Green
With the annual Flanner Cup on the line, Mod Quad rivals Knott and Siegfried will square off once again in Sunday’s season opener.
The Juggerknotts were defensively sound in 2011 but struggled offensively, something they will look to improve on this year. They have rebuilt their dual-threat offense with new plays and new coaches in the hope of bettering last season’s 3-1 regular season record.
Knott’s season ended last year with a first-round playoff loss to Dillon, but the team anticipates its preseason work this year will pay off with a week one victory, Juggerknotts senior running back and captain Joey Beglane said.
“We’ve played Siegfried four times the past few years and haven’t won against them yet, so we’re just looking to get a win,” Beglane said.
The Ramblers may have something to say about that, however. After exiting the postseason with a semifinal defeat at the hands of Dillon last year, the team is optimistic about its chances in 2012.
“Siegfried’s always been strong athletically, especially in football, and we’re looking to make it to the top this year,” sophomore running back Jose Linardi said.
As opposed to the Juggerknotts, the Ramblers have revamped their defense and special teams to create an all-around stronger unit that complements their run-based offense.
They will be tested by Knott’s best in Sunday’s contest, highlighted by the matchup between Ramblers senior running back and linebacker David Whitmore and Juggerknotts senior running back and receiver Jake Coleman.
With the standard set so high last year, Siegfried has ambitious expectations for its first game this season, Linardi said.
“We look forward to playing Knott, who is our Mod Quad rival, and beating them,” Linardi said.
The Ramblers and Juggerknotts will kick off Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields at Stepan.
Alumni vs. Duncan
By Kyle Foley
Sunday’s matchup between Alumni and Duncan is a season opener that has different implications for both teams.
The Dawgs will hit the field hungry for revenge. Coming off two consecutive one-point losses in the semifinals of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Alumni has its eyes set on taking home the championship this year.
Alumni junior captain Tom O’Sullivan said this preseason has been all about going the extra yard so they do not come up short again.
O’Sullivan said the Dawgs will feature a revamped offense this season.
“We are looking to improve our passing game,” O’Sullivan said. “Last season we ran a run-oriented offense. This year we intend to have a balanced playbook that will make us a more dynamic team.”
Alumni junior quarterback Will Cronin, coming off an injury that prematurely ended his season last year, returns to lead the aerial assault Sunday.
O’Sullivan and senior co-captain Dan Finan, former high school teammates, will lead an offensive line that looks to duplicate last year’s success rushing the ball. The Dawgs believe an improved, versatile offense will take them all the way this year, O’Sullivan said.
On the other side of the huddle, the Highlanders are looking at a new offense as well. Duncan junior captain Gerrit Hobson said his team is trying to limit the unpredictable nature of the offense from last year. Hobson said he will attempt to slow down the pace of the game and increase Duncan’s time of possession. With these changes made, the Highlanders – coming off a 1-3 season in which they missed the playoffs – expect to see greater success on the field, Hobson said.
Hobson said the Duncan defense will be the driving force in Sunday’s season opener.
“In our long and illustrious career in dorm football, our strength has usually been our defense,” Hobson said. “I think we’ve got a solid front eight that can put a stop on the run game of any opponent we play this season.”
Duncan’s defense goes up against Alumni’s potent rushing attack Sunday at 2:15 p.m. at Riehle Fields at Stepan.
Stanford vs. Keough
By Kit Loughran
With the season opener fast approaching, Stanford and Keough are prepared to face off Sunday.
Both teams are optimistic about the season and feel good about Sunday’s matchup, Stanford senior captain Paul Babiak and Keough sophomore captain Charlie Magiera said.
With successful practices underway and the advantage of returning multiple players, both squads are expecting to be more than ready for Sunday’s game. The pressure to start the season on strong footing has motivated the Griffins and Kangaroos to develop and master their individual strategies.
“We have a good offensive line and defensive line this year, and we want to capitalize on those things,” Babiak said.
With senior Jim Waclawik, playing on both sides of the ball for the Griffins, Stanford will look to exploit Keough’s offensive and defensive lines.
Magiera said Keough is looking to use a balanced offense to hopefully get a season-opening victory.
“We have a pretty solid running game, and at the same time we want to see if we can open up our passing game,” Magiera said.
Junior running back Mike Fischer and senior fullback Robby Toole will lead the Kangaroos in the backfield.
The Griffin and Kangaroos will battle at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at Riehle Fields at Stepan.
St. Ed’s vs. Carroll
By Kit Loughran
Filled with anticipation, St. Edward’s and Carroll prepare to square off Sunday in their season opener.
Both teams have one simple goal entering the season: Make the playoffs.
“We want to make a name for ourselves [by making it to the playoffs,]” St. Edward’s, junior captain and quarterback Paul Rodriguez said.
In a similar fashion, Carroll, under the leadership of junior captain and quarterback Tommy Spoonmore, hopes to make it to the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
Before either team actually makes it to the postseason, however, they are focusing their energy on the strategy for Sunday’s matchup.
“We want to open up the running game,” Spoonmore said.
With the help of their strong offensive line, the Vermin hope to do just that.
Rodriguez said St. Edward’s will try to control possession and play as a unit Sunday.
“Our strategy is to focus on what we can do as a team … and ball control,” Rodriguez said.
The size of St. Edward’s’ new freshmen will definitely help enact this game plan, Rodriguez said.
“[They will help] prevent penetration and pound the ball,” he said.
Rodriguez said one player to keep an eye on is Gentlemen junior safety Andrew Blonigan, a two-time Swiss football national champion.
Spoonmore also said his team is expecting big things from Carroll junior Bobby Dorman, who will play receiver and split time at quarterback with Spoonmore.
The Gentlemen and Vermin will square off at 2:15 p.m. at Riehle Fields at Stepan on Sunday.
Sorin vs. Zahm
Sorin and Zahm look to start the season off on the right foot as they take the field for Sunday’s season-opening matchup.
The Otters aim to build off the success of previous years, as they feature a solid group of returning players and an exciting freshman class. Last year the Otters finished as runners-up, while two years ago they garnered the coveted interhall championship.
The biggest strength of the Sorin team this year may be the team chemistry, senior captain Colin King said.
“We’ve been practicing six times a week and have team bonding sessions on Sunday,” King said. “We’re feeling really connected and really confident when we spend that much time together.”
King said Sorin is expecting big things out of senior defensive back Chris Champlin, who does it all for the Otters.
“He’ll be our primary focus,” King said. “There is nothing stopping Chris Champlin.”
On the other side of the ball, Zahm hopes to begin the season in a competitive fashion against Sorin and have a good time doing so, senior captain Alex Bowman said.
After finishing winless last season, the Zahmbies look to improve their tackling and running assault. A solid freshman class, including some who will be out playing football for the first time, and a reliable group of upperclassman comprise this year’s Zahm team.
“We hope to enjoy the game,” Bowman said. “If we win, we win, and if we don’t, we will have a good time. I think we hope to come together as a team.”
Bowman also said the Zahmbies are well aware they are in for a tough battle against a solid team in Sorin.
“It’s going to be an interesting game,” Bowman said. “I expect nothing less than a fight.”
The Otters and Zahmbies will face off Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields at Stepan.