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Men’s Interhall: Sorin narrowly beats Keough

Casey Karnes and A.J. Godeaux | Tuesday, November 13, 2012

BY CASEY KARNES
Sports Writer

In a game dictated by harsh winds, No. 1 Sorin’s stout defense stymied No. 4 Keough to pull out an 8-6 victory in Sunday’s semifinals.

At the start of the game, however, Sorin (6-0) struggled to play up to its top ranking. Although the Otters forced the Kangaroos (4-1-1) to punt on its first possession, their ensuing series netted negative yardage.

The wind’s first tangible effect was felt on the Otters’ punt attempt, as senior Ted Spinelli’s kick blew back behind the line of scrimmage and give Keough the ball on Sorin’s 18-yard line.

After two runs by junior running back Mike Fischer brought the Kangaroos inside the 10-yard line, junior quarterback Seamus Donegan found freshman receiver Mitch Patin for a touchdown.

“We just wanted to come in and keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Donegan said. “We just wanted to execute.”

Keough held the lead until Spinelli converted a fourth-and-11 into a 25-yard touchdown pass. After a two-point conversion, the Otters took an 8-6 advantage they would never relinquish.

Sorin’s touchdown came after a turnover shortly before halftime. The Kangaroos forced Sorin into a turnover on downs, and then drove inside the red zone. Fischer took a handoff and dove towards the end zone, but fumbled at the one-yard line. Spinelli recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback and then commenced an 80-yard drive that ended in the deciding touchdown. Players from both teams said the play marked a turning point in the game.

“[That play] definitely helped our team’s attitude in this game,” Sorin freshman defensive linesman Stephen Scobee said. “After it, we thought, ‘They gave us this, let’s go and take it.'”

Fischer’s fumble had the opposite effect on the Kangaroos.

“It was a tough one to swallow for sure,” Donegan said. “They took the momentum there.”

Sorin’s defense shut down Keough’s offense in the second half, intercepting Donegan twice. Both teams struggled with passing into the wind, but the Kangaroos also had to face a ferocious pass rush led by Scobee, junior defensive linesman Taylor Nutter and junior defensive linesman Daniel Yi. Scobee said he benefitted greatly from the help of his fellow linesmen.

“[Nutter and Yi] have really been helping out on the line,” Scobee said. “They’re really good guys, and really good football players too.”

Despite the loss, Donegan said the Kangaroos are proud of their season, the best in recent memory for Keough.

“All the seniors have been incredible,” Donegan said. “We’re hoping to carry on this to next year and try to get to the Stadium.”

Scobee, meanwhile, only needed one word to describe how he felt about playing in the Stadium on Sunday.

“Awesome,” he said.

No. 1 Sorin will face No. 2 Keenan on Sunday in Notre Dame Stadium for the interhall championship.

Contact Casey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu

Keenan 21, Knott 6
By A.J. GODEAUX
Sports Writer

With a chance to play in the championship at hallowed Notre Dame Stadium on the line, No. 2 Keenan knocked off No. 3 Knott 21-6 on Sunday to advance to the interhall championship game.

Keenan’s offensive line committed two holding penalties on the first drive, the second of which negated a 25-yard completion. Two plays later, senior captain and quarterback Andrew McDonough connected with junior receiver Jeremy Riche on a crossing route across the middle. Riche made one man miss and outran the safety the final 20 yards, dashing into the end zone to put the Knights (5-0-1) up 7-0. The 40-yard completion was the first of McDonough’s three touchdown passes on the day.

Knott (4-2) started to show life after halftime, and the Juggerknotts marched down the field to start the second half. Knott sophomore quarterback David Taiclet cut the Knights lead to 7-6 with a 20-yard touchdown pass, but the Juggerknotts’ extra point attempt was blocked after a high snap.

McDonough rallied the Knights, responding with a 46-yard touchdown strike down the seams to junior receiver John Garry.

After the Juggerknotts turned the ball over on downs midway through the second half, McDonough wasted no time, connecting with Riche for a 54-yarder on the first play of the drive to effectively seal the win for Keenan.

Despite two long completions from Taiclet, Knott struggled to get past the Keenan defensive line on its final drive. After getting little pressure on Taiclet all game, the Knights’ defensive line seemed to converge on Taiclet at once, sacking him on first down. Three plays later, with a fourth-and-10 and Knott’s season on the line, Taiclet’s pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage.

Though the Knights’ defense certainly held its own, McDonough and Riche proved to be a formidable duo on offense. McDonough threw for 231 yards and three touchdowns, while Riche finished the day with 120 yards and two touchdown grabs.

McDonough gave credit to his offensive line, which rebounded in the second half after committing four penalties for 45 yards in the first half.

“I’ve got to give a big shout out to my offensive line,” McDonough said. “They don’t ever get their names in the paper, but today they should. … They were challenged, knew they were better than those penalties and responded to the challenge.”

The Juggerknotts’ season is over, but the Knights have one step left. It is the biggest step yet, the interhall championship, which will take place Sunday at Notre Dame Stadium.

 

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