The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Carroll not intimidated by defending champs Siegfried

Joe Meixell | Friday, September 24, 2004

Mention the name Siegfried in any number of hall football practices around campus and it may elicit shudders or groans of disappoint on discovering who the upcoming opponent is. Two straight interhall championships will do that.

As the Ramblers prepare for the second game of what is hoped to be the road to a third championship, they face the Vermin of Carroll Hall. Despite all the talk and No. 1 ranking of the Ramblers, Vermin captain Kary Wilmot is not intimidated.

He looks at a tough 10-0 loss to Siegfried last year as proof that the Vermin can hang in there with the best in the league. After going 1-3 last year with a win over Zahm, Carroll is looking to garner a coveted playoff spot. This is a definite sign of improvement, as prior to last year Carroll had not scored a touchdown in six years. The Vermin hope to break through a tough Rambler defense and use time to their advantage.

“The interhall game is conducive to winning games,” Wilmot said. “The games played are so limited in time that [on] any day anyone has a chance at victory.”

To accomplish this Carroll will rely on an entirely new backfield anchored by its quarterback, Wilmot. Freshman tailback Michael Valuzzo and wide receiver Paul Tassinari will contribute this weekend on offense along with junior slot receiver John Tira. The Vermin have been stressing to its less experienced players to not be intimidated by Siegfried.

Leading Carroll on defense will be co-captain Dom Gabianelli at middle linebacker and strong safety Mike Johnson. Siegfried will start freshman Steve Uphaus at quarterback this week, replacing Brian Vithe who played against Knott last week. Co-captain defensive end/offensive tackle Kevin Phipps had good things to say about Uphaus.

“We can do whatever we want with Steve in the backfield,” Phipps said. “We can go up top, we can drop short passes in front of the linebackers or we can go deep to [wide receiver John] Kaup.”

Kaup is one of the keys to an experienced Siegfried offense, bringing an extremely competent outlet for Uphaus to deliver to. Phipps also liked the play last week of running back Pat Manning, who showed a flair for consistency. Cornerbacks Kyree Blackwell and Matt Woperer both had excellent games against Knott as well.

A welcome addition to the Rambler defense will be returning inside linebacker Kyle Reis who missed last week’s game.

“Reis will be back this week, and he will be felt,” Phipps said.

Also a developing last week were freshmen Thomas Martin and Jordan Beltz on defensive line and Dan Flaherty on offensive line.

The Rambler keys to this game are reducing mental mistakes, something that was executed to perfection against Knott with no penalties committed and solidifying positions on both sides of the play. The Vermin and Ramblers face off at 1 p.m. Sunday at Riehle Field.

Knott vs. St. Edward’s

Men against Juggs is certainly an unusual conflict on the campus of a Catholic university, but such will be the case this Sunday, when St. Edward’s takes on Knott. Both teams are 0-1 and are looking to turn their seasons around before it gets to be too late. An 0-2 start is an especially sobering reality in a four-game season.

Knott is coming off a 13-10 loss to its archrival Siegfried, which got the Juggs off to a poor start in this year’s Flanner Cup. However, the team still possesses playoff aspirations, though it realize it must not overlook St. Ed’s.

Knott loves to utilize its aggressive, run-oriented offense to batter down the opponent’s defensive front.

“We like to play smash-mouth football, just run it down their throats,” team captain Drew Donovan said.

In accordance with this philosophy, expect running back Joe McCarthy and the entire offensive line to contribute largely if the Juggs are to succeed.

According to Donovan, this team also understands the importance of stopping the run. This job falls to an experienced defensive line, part of Knott’s 4-4 alignment and led by defensive tackles Justin Cheers and Jess Greenwood.

Meanwhile, St. Ed’s is coming off a loss to its rival, Zahm. The St. Ed’s defense was exploited for 20 points, a figure which disturbs head coach Matt Weber.

“We gave up 20 points to Zahm last week,” he said. “We can’t expect to do that and win.”

The defense has spent this week implementing new schemes to avert future disasters such as the porous performance against Zahm. The linebacking core, featuring Mike Giampa and Alex Lesiak, will be to key to ensuring that the changes have their desired effect.

It would be convenient for St. Ed’s to pin all of its problems on a bad defensive effort. This would be an oversight. There are clearly offensive issues to address as well, since St. Ed’s only managed to put up six points last week.

St. Ed’s features Chris Wagner in an off-tackle style offense. Wagner will, if all goes according to plan, be running through holes provided by Nick Stober and the rest of the offensive line.

This matchup is especially important for both teams, as each need a win to keep playoff hopes alive.

O’Neill vs. Keough

In the battle for West Quad bragging rights Sunday at 2 p.m., Keough and O’Neill will both be desperately searching for their first win of the interhall season.

Although O’Neill lost a hard-fought game last weekend, the Kangaroos of Keough felt especially robbed of a win on Sunday. Last week’s heart-breaking, 6-3 loss to Alumni on the game’s final play has inspired the Kangaroos to redouble their efforts for the contest against their geographic rivals.

Particularly important for the Kangaroos will be in-huddle communication.

On last Sunday’s loss, Brian Kusper, Keough’s captain and quarterback, said that miscommunications on routes stalled the offense on drives in both halves.

The Kangaroos will have to be careful not to break the wrong way on routes because the Angry Mob defense showed a capacity to make the quarterback pay against Morrissey. The O’Neill secondary intercepted two passes against veteran quarterback Pete Spreitzer in the 14-6 loss on Sunday.

For Keough to establish an efficient offense, it will have to take advantage of a shaky O’Neill defensive line. In last week’s loss, the Angry Mob surrendered 114 rushing yards, allowing the opposing offense to spread out and change looks.

However, the Angry Mob will walk also walk into the game with a chip on its shoulder.

The O’Neill offense scored only once last Sunday, looking flat the rest of the game. However, O’Neill will stay with its new formation, the wing-t, in hopes of keeping the Kangaroos off balance.

However, for the wing-t to be effective, the O’Neill offense must improve dramatically. In particular, Angry Mob quarterback Matt Hughie must complete more than just three passes this Sunday to make the offset formation work.

That will be a tough task against a Keough defense that pitched a shutout until the final play of the game last week.