Phoxes upset Pyros to advance to championship
Benjamin Padanilam | Monday, November 17, 2014
No. 3 Pangborn upset No. 2 Pasquerilla East, 34-20, in the semifinals of the women’s interhall playoffs Sunday to advance to the championship game in Notre Dame Stadium next Sunday.
Despite giving up a season-high 20 points, the Phoxes (7-1) found a way to win behind the strength of their offense, outscoring the previously unbeaten Pyros (7-1), who led the league in scoring entering the game. The Phoxes were led by the performance of senior quarterback Caitlin Gargan, who finished with five touchdowns, three passing and two rushing.
The Pyros then mounted a drive downfield, finished by Mulhall scoring a rushing touchdown, giving Pasquerilla East a 14-8 lead. The Phoxes responded again when Gargan ran into the end zone in the final moments of the second quarter, but they failed to convert the two-point conversion and the game remained tied heading into halftime, 14-14.
The Pyros came out strong after the break, as Mulhall led them down the field with a series of runs before finding sophomore wide receiver and captain Noelle Gooding for a passing touchdown to take a 20-14 lead before the third quarter came to an end.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Phoxes matched the Pyros’ score with a passing touchdown of their own and completed a one-point conversion to take a 21-20 lead. Following a three-and-out by Pasquerilla East, Gargan completed yet another throw to the end zone to extend the lead to 27-20. With only a few minutes remaining in the game, the Pyros were unable to move the ball and turned it over on downs. Gargan sealed the victory for Pangborn with one final rushing touchdown, giving the Phoxes a 34-20 win.
The game was a rematch of an early regular season game in which the Pyros won, 14-6. Pangborn offensive coordinator and senior Daniel Lempres said he was very proud of his team for finding a way to come out on top this time around.
“[It feels] great,” Lempres said. “They beat us in the regular season, so it was great to come back and win the second round.”
Pangborn offensive line coach and senior Henry DeTrempe said the key adjustment by the Phoxes between the two games was the increased role of the their offensive line.
“We really wanted to get our offensive line more involved,” Detrempe said. “[We had] a big contribution from [junior] Lauren Groody and [senior] Ally Weaver, and we didn’t have that in the first game.”
With the victory, the Phoxes ended their three-year streak of semifinal losses, earning them a spot in the championship game in Notre Dame Stadium on Sunday at 2 p.m.