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Interhall Football: Keenan, O’Neill clinch playoff berths with victories

John Tierney and Kate Donlin | Friday, October 13, 2006

On a night that warmth forgot, Keenan played like a team that remembered its destiny. Behind 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns from running back Alex Gonzalez, the Knights beat Morrissey 12-6 in a battle of undefeated teams vying for the Gold League’s top seed.The Manorites got off to a good start in the first quarter, scoring on the game’s opening series. Quarterback Alvin Reynolds went 2-for-2, throwing for 48 yards and a touchdown on the drive, both of his completions coming on third down. After leading the Manorites into Knight territory, Reynolds hooked up with wide receiver Carl Anderson for a 39-yard touchdown to give Morrissey a 6-0 lead. Despite his success on the opening drive, Reynolds was pulled in favor of regular starter Joe McBrayer. McBrayer was less successful against the tough Knight defense, as he completed only four of his 13 passes for 73 yards and an interception.After the initial Manorite score, Keenan put together a 36-yard drive that lasted into the second quarter but ended in a fumble. After a Morrissey fumble two plays later, the Knights took possession again at their own 38-yard line. Behind 38 yards on five carries from Gonzalez, including a touchdown run from 12 yards out, Keenan tied the game at six.Morrissey had a chance before the half to respond to the Knight touchdown, but that ended with an Anderson interception two plays into the Manorite drive.After halftime, Keenan started with the ball and came out strong. Capitalizing on an emotional argument with the referees by the Manorite-affiliated chain gang, the Knights put together an 8-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Keenan began the drive with a trick play out of the half, in which 10 Keenan players, including Gonzalez lined up near their sideline. Gonzalez received a direct snap from center and ran 25 yards to the Manorite 40-yard line.From there, Gonzalez rushed for another 20 yards on the drive, including the eventual game-winning touchdown.While the loss was a disappointment for Morrissey, the squad is still eligible for the postseason. Meanwhile, the win clinches the Gold League’s top seed for Keenan. Both teams will begin their playoff runs following fall break.

O’Neill 13, Alumni 0Despite the falling snow and freezing temperatures, the Angry Mob from O’Neill managed to heat things up on the field. The Mob’s victory over Alumni secured its spot in the playoffs, meaning O’Neill is one step closer to reaching its ultimate goal – the championship game. Just seconds into the contest, O’Neill made sure the Dawgs knew they came to play. Mob running back Mike Mattingly dashed 70 yards into the end zone, dodging tackles and taking advantage of his teammates’ blocks. The successful point-after gave the Mob an early 7-0 lead. “We knew we were facing a tough O’Neill team,” Alumni junior Eddie Villa said. “They have some really good athletes playing for them.” After a disappointing first possession that ended in a punt, Alumni seemed discouraged. As the O’Neill offense made its way down the field, the Dawgs got a surge of hope when they recovered a fumble deep within O’Neill territory. Unfortunately for the Dawgs, Alumni quarterback John Lauinger subsequently threw an interception. The Alumni defense played tough and forced O’Neill to punt, but the Dawgs’ offensive trouble continued their next possession. O’Neill captain Pat Conley picked off another one of Lauinger’s passes. This time the Mob capitalized on Alumni’s mistake, and it eventually added six points to its score with a 60-yard touchdown pass, giving the Mob a 13-0 lead heading into the half. “We didn’t play our best, but we did enough on offense to come out with a win,” O’Neill junior Braden Turner said. “Also our defense put up their third shutout of the season.” The second half was a defensive showdown, with neither team managing to get much of an offense going. In the end, O’Neill held onto its 13-point margin, giving the Mob a 3-1 regular season record, propelling it into the playoffs. “We’re really optimistic about the playoffs,” Turner said. “We are ready to work hard to make it deep into the postseason.”