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Men’s Interhall Football: Zahmbies set to battle Green Wave

Observer Sports Writers | Friday, September 28, 2012

Sports Writer

Two sputtering offenses will go up against a pair of suffocating defenses when Zahm plays Fisher on Sunday.

The Zahmbies (0-2) will look for their first win, while the Green Wave (1-0) will try to stay undefeated.

The Zahmbies have struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball, failing to produce any points through their first two games. Despite his team’s struggles, senior captain Alex Bowman said he is focusing on the positives.

“I think our struggles are a matter of perception,” Bowman said. “We are making improvements every week.”

Defensively, Zahm remains strong, surrendering only 10 points to Carroll in its last game. The Zahmbies will look for their defense to keep up the pressure while their offense continues to develop.

“Our defense has had some great players,” Bowman said. “We’re going to rely a lot on freshman defensive end Ryan Tang this game.”

The Green Wave, meanwhile, have used their stifling defense to make up for their lack of offensive prowess. In the team’s season opener against St. Edward’s, the defense shut down the Gentlemen offense, posting a shutout. Senior captain Matt Hart said he knows his offense, which only scored one touchdown against the Gentlemen, must improve to give the defense some breathing room.

“Last week’s game ball goes to our entire defense,” Hart said, “All our energy comes from them.”                                                                                                                                              

For the offense to improve, the Green Wave will need better play from their offensive line, a unit that gave up a safety last week.
“We have a young center who was a little anxious and excited last week,” Hart said. “But that’s not a bad thing, since it’ll help us get a good push off the line. We just need to have more consistency.”

The Zahmbies and the Green Wave will square off Sunday at 2:15 p.m. at Riehle Fields at Stepan.

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu

O’Neill vs. Stanford
Sports Writer

Resilience and flexibility will be the keys to Sunday’s matchup between O’Neill and Stanford. With each team suffering from injuries, fundamentals and integration of new players are top priorities for the Mob and the Griffins.

O’Neill (0-1) started off the season with two potential quarterbacks in freshmen Jack Larson and John Doran. Larson was tapped to start the season opener, but he fractured his ankle soon afterwards and will be sidelined for the rest of O’Neill’s season.

Junior captain Eric Reed said he felt confidence in his team despite Larson’s absence.

“As bad as it is to have him hurt, we should be alright because [Doran] was pretty even,” Reed said.

On the other side, Stanford senior captain Paul Babiak said injuries are his team’s biggest weakness.

“Our other captain [senior Eric Zeltwanger] is out for the season with a fractured ankle,” Babiak said. “It’s definitely just been kind of random, unlucky events that have caused it. Some injuries haven’t even been football-related at all.”

Babiak said Stanford (0-2) has been improving, even though it has come up short in its first two games.

“Overall the team’s been doing well; it’s just frustrating to see us lose after playing so well in both the games and then just not coming up on top afterwards,” he said.

Reed said O’Neill senior linebacker Scott Johnson would return this Sunday after missing last week’s game.

“Having [Johnson] back will be a huge help,” Reed said. “He’s the one that anchors our line, so that should help us establish our running game a lot better.”

The battle of two battered teams will kick off when O’Neill and Stanford meet Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Riehle Fields at Stepan.

Contact Lesley Stevenson at lsteven1@nd.edu

Morrissey vs. Siegfried
Sports Writer

Morrissey battles Siegfried on Sunday in a game both teams have marked on their schedules.

The Manor (1-0) look to keep their undefeated record intact, while the Ramblers (1-1) will try to keep their playoffs hopes alive with a victory.

In their opening win against Duncan, the Manor shut down the Highlanders offense with a lockdown defense. In particular, the linebacking corps, led by freshman Erik Rayno, sophomore Zac Plantz and junior Nick Conrad, commanded the team’s solid defense, which allowed only three points.

As Morrissey heads into its next game, senior captain Taylor Stein said he believes a more rehearsed gameplan will help keep the team’s winning streak alive against a fierce Rambler squad.

“With [Duncan] being our first game, I think the Morrissey tradition of ‘talent over preparation’ really came through and secured the win,” Stein said. “Siegfried always seems to be a target among other teams, but, at the end of the day, their elitist uniforms and coaching staff on the sidelines can’t put points on the scoreboard. It comes down to the guys on the field, mano-a-mano.”

Still upset about dropping their opening game to Knott, the Ramblers know a second loss will likely keep them from a spot in the playoffs. In this week’s practice, the Ramblers made changes to their offensive game plan.

“We’ve incorporated a lot more passing than usual in our game plan this week,” sophomore running back Jose Linardi said. “We need to win to make it to the playoffs and our huddle is optimistic about winning out this season.”

Siegfried and Morrissey will battle for a much-needed win Sunday at 2:15 p.m. at the Riehle Fields at Stepan.

Contact Kyle Foley at kfoley2@nd.edu

Carroll vs. Sorin
Sports Writer

Though they both remain undefeated heading into the third week of the season, Carroll and Sorin will look to make improvements before the two teams clash Sunday.

The Vermin (2-0) have put up impressive numbers in their back-to-back shutouts of St. Edward’s and Zahm. Junior quarterback Tommy Spoonmore said he wants his team’s defense to remain as formidable as it was in its first two games.

“The defense has been playing really well, and that continued into last week’s game,” Spoonmore said.

On the other side of the ball, Spoonmore said he hopes Carroll’s offense will make necessary adjustments this week.

“We need to open up the running game, which will help the rest of the offense,” Spoonmore said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a good week of practice in before playing Sorin.”

The Otters (1-0), meanwhile, see their players’ health as the key to success for the rest of the season. Although senior receiver Bobby Sullivan has been sidelined with a sprained ankle, Sorin’s able-bodied players shut out Zahm 19-0 in the team’s only game to date.

“We had a lot of key players missing and we still had a good game, so we need to get those key players back and involved,” senior receiver and linebacker Ryan Robinson said.

Senior quarterback Ted Spinelli led the Otters to victory with two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.

Robinson said he anticipates a big challenge from the Vermin on Sunday.

“We know Carroll will be coming for us, so we just need to weather the storm for the first quarter and let our athletes come out and make the plays,” he said.

With undefeated records on the line, Sorin and Carroll will battle Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields at Stepan.

Contact Mary Green at Mgreen8@nd.edu

Keough vs. Dillon
Sports Writer

As defending champion Dillon and Keough get ready to clash Sunday, a confident Keough squad said it does not see the Big Red’s recent past as a cause for concern this season.

“I know Dillon won the championship last year, but we are not looking too much into that, considering it also lost to Keenan in its first week,” Keough sophomore captain Charlie Magiera said.

The Kangaroos (0-1) dropped their first game 6-3 to Stanford, a loss Magiera blamed largely on offensive penalties.

“We have been working on our penalties in practice, but our defense was a powerhouse against Stanford,” Magiera said.

Magiera also said the Keough offense looks really solid and should be a factor in Sunday’s matchup.

“We plan on protecting our quarterback [junior Seamus Donegan] and having a really strong offensive line,” he said.

On the other side of the field, Dillon (1-1) looks to maintain its expectations of a championship repeat, but the Big Red also face a rebuilding year, as many new faces have joined the team.

Going into the game, Dillon plans to place a greater emphasis on its rushing attack.

“We hope to run the ball more consistently and hopefully open up our passing game,” Big Red junior captain and quarterback Kevin Fink said.

Fink said he expects to see a strong effort from the Big Red on both sides of the ball.

“Overall, we want to play hard on every snap,” Fink said.

Keough will look to knock off Dillon and earn its first win of the season when the two teams meet Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Riehle Fields at Stepan.

Contact Sarah Connors at sconnor1@nd.edu

Knott vs. Alumni
Sports Writer

Sunday’s game between Knott and Alumni looks to be a defensive grind, as both teams opened their seasons with low-scoring victories two weeks ago. The Juggerknotts (1-0) defeated Siegfried 6-3, while the Dawgs (1-1) edged Duncan in a 3-0 win.

Since those games, both teams have maintained a focus on defense and running the football.

Despite Alumni’s 15-8 loss to Siegfried last week, Dawgs junior captain Tom O’Sullivan said his team would maintain its established mindset of physicality.

“We have to come out and be very physical, no matter who we’re playing,” O’Sullivan said. “Our division is very run-heavy, so we have to be strong on the line. On offense, we have to try to run the ball and be strong on the block.”

O’Sullivan said the Dawgs came into the season with high hopes and expect consistently fierce efforts on the field.

“In the last two years, we’ve come up just short,” O’Sullivan said. “Our goal is to always put the extra work in to get the extra yard.”

Knott sophomore quarterback David Taiclet will face an aggressive Alumni pass rush, which may force the Juggerknotts to give more carries to senior running back Joey Beglane. Beglane scored Knott’s only touchdown in its victory over Siegfried.            

The Juggerknotts’ goal for the season was to improve on offense, and although the team did not dominate in its first game, the win was important for the Knott community, Beglane said.

“It was a great win because we haven’t beat Siegfried since 2004,” he said. “It’s always great to keep some fire in a rivalry.”

Alumni and Knott will battle Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields at Stepan.

Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu