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Interhall Football: Cavanaugh bests Walsh

Jack Thornton and Ben Vincent | Tuesday, October 4, 2005

In a rematch of last year’s championship game, Cavanaugh made a statement Sunday afternoon, shutting out previously undefeated Walsh 18-0.

“Ever since we lost to them in the championship game, we’ve been waiting for a chance to beat them,” Chaos captain Rachel Byrne said. “It felt good to prove that we can play with them, and even above them.”

The Wild Women came in averaging more than 17 points a game, but were facing a Cavanaugh defense that has yet to allow a point this year.

The Chaos defense smothered Walsh quarterback Mary Sullivan, intercepting her three times and forcing turnover-on-downs three times as well.

“They have very good athletes, and they’re well-coached,” Wild Women coach Brian Burkavage said of the Chaos defense. “They always seem to be in the right place, and they made plays while our receivers didn’t.”

The multiple turnovers gave Cavanaugh a short field to work with, and Chaos quarterback Lisa Ruffer took full advantage, connecting on 11-of-23 attempts for 110 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

After Ruffer completed a two-yard touchdown pass to Byrne for a 6-0 lead, things took a nasty turn for the Wild Women. On Cavanaugh’s ensuing two-point conversion attempt, Ruffer’s follow-through came down on Walsh captain Mary Ellen Botta. Immediately, Botta collapsed to the ground and did not get up until 20 minutes later, when she was taken off the field by an ambulance.

The Wild Women tried to motivate themselves after the long break, but Cavanaugh held fast with another quick interception and touchdown to put them up 12-0.

“Mentally, it’s hard to stay focused after an injury, but we focused, played within ourselves, and it worked out for us,” said Byrne.

Going into the second half with a 12-0 lead, the Chaos ran a methodical offense that seemed to pick up first downs at will, giving the Wild Women little time to make a comeback. Cavanaugh ran 33 plays from scrimmage and converted seven first downs, while Walsh snapped the ball 26 times and moved the chains just three times during the game

“In the second half we just wanted to slow down the tempo so they’d feel rushed when they had the ball,” Byrne said.

With the much-anticipated game now behind them, Burkavage is already looking forward to the next time they will meet.

“This is just one game. Hopefully we’ll get another shot at them in the playoffs, when it really matters,” Burkavage said.

Byrne was just as focused on the future.

“It was nice, but now it’s over, and we need to focus on the playoffs because it all starts over fresh, and if we meet them again we need to be just as focused. We can’t afford to be complacent,” Byrne said.

Howard 6, Badin 6

On her birthday, Catherine Krug gave a present to the rest of her team. The Howard defensive back returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown, allowing the Ducks to force a 6-6 tie with the Badin Bullfrogs.

Badin opened the scoring on its first possession with a touchdown pass from quarterback Katie Rose Hackney to Courtney Rains. Hackney made two solid runs on the drive set up after Howard was forced to punt on its first possession.

On Howard’s subsequent possession, they once again got a first down, but then were forced to punt. The Bullfrogs marched the ball up the field, but Howard began to show its strength as a red-zone defense and made Badin turn the ball over on downs. Howard was then three and out, and after a fifty-yard punt return by captain Meg Charlebois, the Bullfrogs had excellent field position with time running down. After a twenty-yard completion to Rains, Hackney threw the interception to Krug.

Krug’s score came after Badin captain Meg Charlebois returned a punt 50 yards to give the Bullfrogs excellent field position. Hackney then threw a 20-yard pass to Rains, but the fun stopped when Krug picked off the pass.

In the second half, Badin’s offense started strong with another big pass to Rains, this time for 35 yards before Howard got another timely interception.

However, the Duck offense continued to struggle as they punted or turned the ball over on downs their remaining four possessions of the game. Badin had two more chances to score, but going for a big play, Hackney throw another interception. The Duck defense held when it counted and moved Howard one step closer to its first win this season.

“We will be looking for our first win next week,” captain Callie Whelan said.

The Ducks hope quarterback Shenna Ketchum will be ready, as she was injured in the last seconds of the game.

Meanwhile, Badin Coach Doar said, Badin is also eager for the rest of the season.

“We look forward to doing well against Lewis and getting a chance to make the playoffs,” Badin coach Charles Doar said.