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Men’s Interhall: Fisher and Carroll battle for playoff berth

By Alex Wilcox, Mary Green, Greg Hadley, Rich Hidy, Alex Stembaugh and A.J. Godeaux | Friday, October 26, 2012

 

By ALEX WILCOX

Sports Writer

Do or die. Win and in. For Fisher and Carroll, an entire season of practice and preparation will come down to one 48-minute contest when the Vermin (2-1) and Green Wave (2-1) battle Sunday with a playoff spot on the line.

 

Technically, the playoffs don’t start until next week. But Carroll junior captain Tommy Spoonmore isn’t looking that far.

“[Sunday] is win or go home,” Spoonmore said. “We’re both 2-1, both fighting for second place in our division. We’re playing this game like it is a playoff game.”

The Vermin have put themselves in the playoff hunt largely through the play of their defense, which has yet to allow a passing touchdown.

“We have a great defensive line,” Spoonmore said. “We’re able to stop the run and also the pass because our secondary is very good. The only way guys are able to attack our defense is by running outside the tackles because we’re not giving up anything through the air.”

Despite the suffocating play of Carroll’s defense, Spoonmore knows defeating Fisher will not be an easy task.

“They have a pretty good quarterback and have always been able to run the ball effectively against us,” Spoonmore said. “Our main objective is to stop the run. If we can do that, we feel we can dictate the game.”

Absences will factor in the game as well, as both teams anticipate small squads come Sunday.

“Our starting running back isn’t going to be there, so, offensively, we’re going to have to throw the ball a little more and open up the passing game,” Spoonmore said. “Defensively we’re also missing a few guys so [junior cornerback] Steve Hannon is going to have to step up and fill in some spots. [Neither situation] is ideal but it’s what we have to do.”

For Fisher, however, the problem may be more dire.

“Unfortunately, we may not have enough people at campus to play the game on Sunday,” Fisher senior captain Matt Hart said.

If the two sides can field teams, Fisher and Carroll will battle for a playoff spot Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields.

Contact Alex Wilcox at awilcox1@nd.edu

 

Alumni vs. Morrissey

By MARY GREEN

Sports Writer

 

With one game left the in regular season, Alumni faces a critical contest against Morrissey on Sunday that will determine its playoff status.

The Dawgs (2-1) will likely make the postseason with a victory but could be eliminated from contention if they lose to the Manor (1-2), junior captain and left tackle Tom O’Sullivan said.

“We’re fairly certain that if we win, we’re in,” O’Sullivan said. “But this is definitely a big game for us.”

Alumni, which made it to the semifinals last season, will rely on two veteran juniors, quarterback Will Cronin and running back Kevin Rolfs, to carry the load on offense. The Dawgs will also be looking for a physical defensive effort to keep Morrissey off the board.

“In our division, it comes down to being physical, so we want to do that to win and make the playoffs,” O’Sullivan said.

The Manor face a different task in this matchup. Though his team’s playoff chances are slim, senior captain Taylor Stein still wants Morrissey to claim a win to close out the season.

The Manor will turn to sophomore linebacker Zac Plantz and freshman linebacker and running back Erik Rayno to lead the charge. Stein said Morrissey would depend on Rayno to have an impact on both sides of the ball.

“He’s ready to make some plays and run over Alumni defenders in the backfield,” Stein said. “We’re looking for him to have a good game and put up some good numbers.”

Meanwhile, Plantz concocted new schemes over fall break to revive Morrissey’s playbook, and Stein said he hopes the new plays will pay off.

“We’ve got nothing to lose at this point, so why not give it everything?” Stein said. “We’ll see what [Plantz] has got.”

The Manor and the Dawgs will square off in the regular season finale Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields.

Contact Mary Green at mgreen8@nd.edu

 

O’Neill vs. Dillon
By GREG HADLEY
Sports Writer

Dillon’s last-ditch effort to make the playoffs will be put to the test Sunday, when the Big Red (1-2) square off against O’Neill.
The Big Red have struggled to this point but still have a chance to make the playoffs, provided they win and get some help from other teams. Junior captain and quarterback Kevin Fink, who is returning from an injury, said his team has a chance to make the playoffs if they can stay focused and play smart.
“We need to play physical and limit our mistakes,” Fink said. “That means cutting down on penalties and turnovers.”
In addition, Fink said he believes defense will play a key role.
“O’Neill has a good offense and we’re going to have to step it up,” Fink said. “Senior linebacker Ben Ferry will be key for our defense.”
O’Neill (0-3), on the other hand, will have to be content to play the role of spoiler. According to junior captain Eric Reed, the Mob certainly have no intention of laying down and are looking to win and improve for next year.
“We want to have a good end to the season,” Reed said. “Even though next season is far away, we’d like to build some momentum.”
Still, if the Mob are to upset Dillon, Reed said defense will be vital.
“We need to step up on defense and stop the run,” Reed said.
Specifically, Reed said the linebacking corps, led by junior Calvin Hemington, will be crucial to this effort.
O’Neill and Dillon will face off Sunday at Riehle Fields at Stepan at 3:30 p.m.
Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu
 

Keenan vs. Keough

By RICH HIDY

Sports Writer

 

In a battle of unbeaten squads, Keenan faces Keough on Sunday with a division championship on the line.

The Knights (3-0) are coming off a low-scoring victory in sloppy conditions as they shut out Stanford 13-0 on Oct. 7.

“Last game we didn’t get to run everything we had planned on offense because of the field, so we just have to execute and get back in the swing of things,” Keenan senior quarterback Andrew McDonough said.

Keenan is looking to find extra motivation with the stakes so high against Keough.

“This game is huge for us,” McDonough said. “We are both playing for the first seed and we expect them to come out and play well. We have a chance to make a statement after [fall] break.”

Keenan will be relying on two talented upperclassmen at receiver in junior Jeremy Riche and senior Alex Green. McDonough said the Knights will look to spread the field on offense in the matchup.

“Both Green and Riche have to step up and have big games for us, and if so, we should be able to take care of business,” McDonough said.

Keough (3-0) defeated O’Neill 14-8 on Oct. 7 with an interception on the final drive to seal the game.

Junior quarterback Michael Fischer leads the offense while freshman defensive back Mitch Patin, who had the game-clinching interception last game, steadies the defense.

Keough sophomore captain Charlie Magiera said the Kangaroos were restricted by the weather against the Mob, and he expects a better performance Sunday.

“The weather was definitely against us last game,” Magiera said. “We couldn’t open up with the pass, and we need to be more effective on the run against a great team.”

Keough faces Keenan on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Riehle Fields in a marquee matchup.

Contact Rich Hidy at rhidy@nd.edu

 

Duncan vs. Knott

By ALEX STEMBAUGH

Sports Writer

 

Duncan and Knott are set to square off Sunday in their final regular season game and their first action after a long layoff.

The Juggerknotts (2-1) are looking for a final win to put them in position for a share of the division title and a postseason berth.

Duncan (0-3), however, is hoping to end the season on a high note by earning its first win.

“We’re just looking to play the best game we have so far,” Highlander sophomore center Alan Keck said. “In previous games we’ve made some mistakes, but we’re hoping to move forward.”

Keck said the Highlanders, who last played Sept. 23, are not fazed by their time off but are well rested and focused on the task at hand.

Offensively, Keck said sophomore quarterbacks Matt Garcia and Pete McGinley have anchored the team in sharing snaps under center, but utilizing the speed of their running backs and receivers will provide the key to victory.

On the other side of the ball, Knott knows the stakes are high and is looking to come out strong. Senior captain Joe Beglane said the Juggerknotts hope the success of their last game, a 10-0 win over Morrissey, carries over to Sunday.

“We played good defense and didn’t give up any points [against the Manor],” Beglane said.

Beglane said he hopes to pick up more passing yards Sunday, but he also feels confident in the running ability of freshman fullback Casey McCaffrey, who had over 100 yards rushing against Morrissey.

Duncan and Knott kick off at 2:15 p.m. Sunday at Riehle Fields.

Contact Alex Stembaugh at astembau@nd.edu

 

Sorin vs. St. Edward’s

By A.J. GODEAUX

Sports Writer

 

With the regular season winding down, Sorin and St. Edward’s will square off in the regular season finale Sunday. 

The Otters (3-0) come into the game undefeated and looking like the best team in the Gold Division after a convincing 20-7 victory Sept. 30 against Carroll. The Gentlemen (1-2), meanwhile, are coming off a solid victory of their own, a 7-0 shutout against Zahm on Oct. 7.

Sunday’s matchup has playoff implications for both sides. For the Gentlemen, a win would give them a shot at a wild card berth. St. Edward’s, however, will have to go up against a vaunted Otter defense.

“We’ve only scored one touchdown and they’ve only given up one,” St. Edward’s junior quarterback and captain Paul Rodriguez said. “So we’ve got to get off to a fast start offensively or we won’t be making the playoffs.”

Sorin has already clinched a playoff berth, but freshman running back John Pearl made it clear that the team was not content.

“We don’t just want to be in the playoffs, we want to be in the best position possible, and this game will offer us a chance to do just that,” Pearl said. “As long as our defense plays the way it has, I don’t see a reason why we can’t win the division.”

The Otters, however, will be playing without one of their best players, senior quarterback Ted Spinelli, who left the Carroll game with a concussion. Sorin will count on senior running back Chris Champlin, who scored two touchdowns against the Vermin, to carry the offense in Spinelli’s stead.

The Otters and Gentlemen face off at 2:15 p.m. Sunday at Riehle Fields.

Contact A.J. Godeaux at agodeaux@nd.edu