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Morrissey able to overcome Zahm 20-7 in quarterfinal

Kevin O'Neill | Tuesday, November 4, 2003

If the true indicator of the heart of a team is how they respond to adversity, third seeded Morrissey certainly showed themselves to be in possession of heart as mounting an impressive comeback to defeat a valiant Zahm team 20-7 and move one step closer to the Stadium.

Tailback Nick Klein ran 13 times for 75 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Marty Mooney threw for one touchdown and ran for another to lead the comeback.

Zahm took advantage of a few strategic wrinkles to build the early lead. Defensively, the Rabid Bats came out in a 4-3 scheme instead of their customary 5-2 to “switch it up” according to captain Mike Maimone. The early results were favorable as the Rabid Bat defense stopped the Manorites on their first possession.

From there, the Rabid Bats used some misdirection in both the running and passing game to spring back-to-back plays of over 25 yards. That set up a great individual effort from wide receiver Mike Russell who defeated double coverage to come down with quarterback Mitch Knapke’s pass to make the score 7-0 in favor of Zahm after the extra point.

The 76-yard drive represented the first time all season the Manorite defense had been scored upon as the result of a long drive, but the Morrissey offense was right there to pick its defense up with a 65-yard scoring drive that was all achieved in the running game. Nick Klein completed the drive on which he had five carries for 55 yards with a 25-yard jaunt around and through the left side of the Zahm defense.

Following the two-point conversion the Manorites suddenly led 8-7 and had forced Zahm to switch back to their customary defense.

“We had to switch back to the 5-2 to try and stop the run,” Maimone said.

When the Morrissey defense came back on the field, they made it clear that they had settled down, forcing an immediate three and out by allowing just one first down while forcing two turnovers over the remainder of the game.

“We got our assignments down and played like we had played all year and tried to get some turnovers,” linebacker Brian Dinsmore said.

With the defense back to its dominating ways, the Morrissey offense was able to mount another scoring drive before the half. With Zahm in the 5-2 to stop Klein, Mooney dropped back, and recognizing that Zahm was in tight man coverage, took off up the left sideline. Mooney had one man to beat as he crossed the Zahm 25, and beat him with an impressive juke to make his run a 60-yard, momentum changing touchdown.

“I thought the turning point was Mooney’s run,” Morrissey captain Aaron Ronsheim said. “It was huge to get that score right before the half.”

Following a Dinsmore interception that positioned the ball at the Zahm 24, the Manorites scored the game-icing 11-yard touchdown on a tipped pass that fell into the arms of Ronsheim.

Despite the loss, Zahm had a lot to be proud of after starting the season 0-2.

“I’m satisfied overall.” Maimone said. “I’m proud of our team. We started the year 0-2 and could have folded, but we came back strong and made the playoffs. I think we played them pretty even overall today.”

The Manorites advance to take on Siegfried, the team that ended their season in the first round of the playoffs last year. Dismore knows the Manorites will need to come out ready to play to beat the Ramblers.

“That’s a big motivator,” he said.

“I was pleased with the way we responded this week, but we need to come out more fired up next week.”