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Catherine Kane, Joe Piarulli and Tim Kaiser | Tuesday, September 20, 2005

After last season’s 0-0 tie between Dillon and Stanford, most people predicted a similar outcome in 2005. They were almost right.

Stanford beat Dillon, 6-2, in men’s interhall Gold League action Sunday as Griffin quarterback Brian Salvi tossed a 60-yard touchdown to receiver Matt Frankenfeld late in the fourth quarter. The Big Red blocked a punt for a safety but it was too little, too late.

Dillon did a better job offensively of moving the ball up the field with running back Alex Duffy and quarterback Kenny Cushing tallying the majority of the yards for the team. Yet the entire first and second quarters passed with neither team even threatening to score.

Each team had two interceptions but was unable to convert them to points.

The most eventful happening of the first half was the injury of Dillon player Jim Yeznik, who had to be driven off the field.

It was not until the end of the third quarter that either team came close to scoring.

Duffy was able to complete a first down for Dillon, moving it to the 15-yard line. Cushing followed with a long run then handed-off to Duffy to put Dillon at the goal line. Dillon recovered its own fumble on the ensuing but lost 12 yards in the process.

Several plays later, the Big Red missed a field goal.

The Stanford offense then took over and was able to do something they hadn’t done the entire game – complete a pass. Salvi threw to Frankenfeld, who caught the ball over a Dillon defender and ran 60 yards for the winning touchdown with five minutes remaining in the game. Stanford was unable to make the extra point.

Dillon responded with Duffy once again pushing the ball up the field until Cushing threw another interception.

Dillon held the Stanford offense completely and blocked a punt to record a safety and its only points of the game. But with 1:10 remaining, the Griffins caught an interception to seal the win.

“I knew we would win, but then I was starting to think it would be another 0-0 tie like last year,” Stanford captain Phil McNicholas said. “And then we scored a touchdown. It felt good.”

And although they suffered a tough loss, Dillon players walked away with optimism for the next game.

“We played solid the entire game,” Duffy said. “We ran good routes. We just couldn’t punch anything through. We will definitely come out and play better next time. It was just the first game and we were getting all the kinks out.”

O’Neill 13, Alumni 6

O’Neill used two touchdowns from tight end Alex Fortunado to defeat Alumni Sunday.

The Dawgs scored first on a ten-yard passing play from Kerger Truesbell to team captain Ryan McGettigan, but it was the only points they could manage as the Angry Mob defense intercepted two Dawg passes.

“We were passing the ball too much, and they blitzed us really well,” McGettigan said.

“Our defense stepped up big today,” O’Neill captain Matt Hughey said. “They really tightened up.”

O’Neill’s two touchdowns both came on passing plays in a game that saw two blocked extra points (one by each team) and a lot of passing.

“At times, both teams struggled to run the ball,” Hughey said. “There were a lot more passing plays in this game than average.”

The Angry Mob excelled through the air, making things tough on Alumni’s defensive backfield.

“The [defensive line] played great, but our secondary had a rough day,” McGettigan said. “We just lost track of a receiver. [Fortunado] just slipped through the coverage.”

O’Neill’s commitment in practice and overall effort showed Sunday according Hughey. He cited a fourth down and long, hard run for a first down by Christian Brown.

“He kept fighting and fighting,” Hughey said.

Even though the Dawgs lost the game, there were many bright spots in their play, and McGettigan still feels that they can put together a great season.

“We played great for ninety percent of the game,” he said. “Just a couple of bad plays killed us.”

McGettigan pointed out hardworking players like Andrew Breslin and Pat Sullivan on offense and Dan Peck, who had an interception on defense, as players who stepped up and give the Dawgs hope.

Keenan 14, Keough 0

Receiver Dan Zenker caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Rob Coly, and the stiff Knights defense kept the Kangaroos scoreless as defending champion Keenan opened with a victory over Keough Sunday.

After John Wood intercepted a Keough pass in the third quarter, Coly hooked up with Zenker for the duo’s second score of the day.

The first score came after a Keough punt early in the first quarter as Keenan’s defense dominated the game.

Keenan started with the ball in the second half but punted, pinning Keough down inside the twenty. Despite the poor field position, the Kangaroos put together a drive, gaining a first down – their first of the game – on two consecutive Keenan offsides penalties.

Keough followed it up with another first down on the ground, another through the air, and the drive came to an end with a fourth-down stop by the Keenan defense.

The Knights didn’t hold the ball for long, though, fumbling on the second play. Again, the Keenan defense stepped up, with Joe Pappas recording his second sack of the game and Wood intercepting a pass and returning it to give his team excellent field position This set Coly up to connect with Zenker for the final score of the game.

The Knights recovered a Kangaroos fumble on the second play of the game and marched down the field, handing the ball off to bruising tailback Alex Staffierei, who gained first down after first down before fumbling on the goal line.

The rest of the half was uneventful, with both teams going three and out – Keough twice – before Keenan got the ball back with just a few minutes left on the clock. The Knights put themselves in good position with a long reception by freshman Jim Zenker, Dan’s brother.

But with time expiring, Keenan’s field goal attempt was blocked. Neither team was able to quickly recover the ball on the bizarre play, in which the ball repeatedly slipped out of the hands of players from both teams and was kicked and chased down the field for about forty yards before Keenan successfully fell on the ball to end the half.

Afterwards, Dan Zenker had a lot to say about his team’s winning effort.

“We have very high expectations, so we have a lot of work left to do,” he said. “We’ve really got to step it up next week.”