No. 1 Keenan to meet No. 7 Knott in championship
Chris Khorey | Friday, November 12, 2004
All the hard work, taunting and hype are over. On Sunday, the blue-clad Keenan Knights take on the orange-jerseyed Juggs from Knott at Notre Dame Stadium for the men’s interhall football championship this Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the stadium.
The Knights come into the game with an impressive 6-0 record and several lopsided victories. Additionally, they have not allowed a point in the playoffs. The Juggs, on the other hand, snuck into the playoffs with a 2-2 record but have shown dramatic improvement since, routing Alumni in the semifinals 24-0.
“We think we’ve always been a good team, we just got some bad breaks,” Knott captain Drew Donovan said of his team’s improvement. “We just practiced hard and tried to decrease the mental mistakes.”
Both teams have been impressive in the playoffs, employing balanced attacks and stifling defense.
“This year we have fantastic balance on offense. We’re not reliant on any one guy,” Keenan captain Pat Downey said. “A different guy has stepped up and been our best weapon in each game. We can run the ball with the best of them, and we can throw when we need to.”
Contenders for the honor of Keenan’s “weapon of the game” include quarterback Eric Laumann, halfback Alex Staffieri, wide receiver Danny Zenker and fullback Reed Langton. Each individual has had big games statistically in the past such as Zenker’s two touchdowns last week against Siegfried.
Notably, each of the stars credits the offensive line for their potent attack.
“The real stars of the game are on the line,” Laumann said last week.
Because of their offensive success, the Knights do not expect to change their game plan for the title game.
“We feel we can run the ball successfully against any front, and that opens the passing game,” Downey said. “We’re going to stay with our basic package.
Hopefully we don’t have to delve into our bag of tricks.”
On the other side of the field, the Juggs will rely on their stingy defense, which has specialized in causing turnovers this season. Last week, Knott had four interceptions on only seven Alumni passes.
“Our secondary has been great for us all year,” Donovan said. “We put them in a lot of situations where they have to go one on one and they’ve been aggressive all season in terms of going for interceptions and getting the ball back to the offense.”
Downey, however, downplayed the influence of the Knott defensive backs.
“We have confidence, and I don’t think our quarterback has thrown four interceptions all year,” he said. “That said, we have to respect their secondary. We’re going to have to concentrate on running the ball.”
On offense, Knott will try to pound the ball with halfback John Lyons, who carried for 120 yards against Siegfried and attack through the air with quarterback Justin Gillett and wide receiver Trey Patrick. Patrick caught a 30-yard touchdown pass and last week Gillett threw another one for 25 yards to Lyons.
The Juggs also boast kicker Eric Wooldridge, who kicked a 37-yard field goal last week.