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Women’s Interhall: Smash mouth football

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Welsh Family squeaked by Pasquerilla East 7-0 on a late-game Jenni Gargula touchdown pass Sunday. With the win, the Whirlwinds finished the season undefeated and earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming playoffs.

Coming in, the game did not seem like it would be as close as the score indicated. The Pyros had only one victory this season and were going up against a Welsh Family team that coasted to a 5-0 record.

Welsh Family captain Brittany Scott admitted to underestimating the Pyros.

“We weren’t focused today,” she said. “We shut them out pretty badly last time we played so we didn’t expect this today.”

But PE let the Whirlwinds know right away that they were in for a dogfight. On the first drive of the game, the Pyros accumulated two first downs before turning the ball over on downs. The PE defense then forced the Whirlwinds to go three and out.

“We went out there with the mentality that we had nothing to lose,” Pyro captain Molly Fox said. “We always seem to play to the level of our opponent, good or bad.”

Earlier this season, the Pyros earned their first and only win against then-undefeated Cavanaugh.

The second half featured more back-and-forth action. The Whirlwinds intercepted a pass inside the Pyro red zone, but PE refused to let down and took momentum back with an interception of its own on the next play.

On their next drive, the Whirlwinds finally broke into the end zone, scoring the game’s only touchdown. But again PE refused to let up, marching down the field in impressive fashion into the red zone.

The Whirlwind defense made its final stand, knocking down a pass in the end zone on fourth and goal with 25 seconds remaining.

Cavanaugh 7, Lyons 0

Cavanaugh defeated Lyons Sunday, scoring its only touchdown of the game on an opening-drive, Katie Dunn touchdown pass.

The Chaos was extremely impressive on that first drive, mixing in a variety of passes and runs that kept Lyons off-balance. Dunn was able to buy time with her feet when under pressure and swiftly led her team down the field to a 7-0 lead.

After forcing the Lions to punt on their first possession, it appeared as if Cavanaugh would run away with the game. However, a number of adjustments by the Lyons defense seemed to hold the Chaos in check for the remainder of the game.

“They changed up their defense after the first drive,” Dunn said. “It took us to the very end of the game to adjust.”

Although the Lyons defense surrendered no points the rest of the way, it did drop several interceptions throughout the game that hindered comeback efforts.

The second half was dominated by defense even more than the first. Lyons had good field position for most of the half, but could not seem to generate anything against the Chaos.

Cavanaugh, which snapped a two-game losing steak with the win, now looks to the postseason.

“This win gives us some momentum heading into the playoffs,” Dunn said. “I think we are hitting our peak right about now.”

Farley 26, Lewis 6

Trailing 13-6 midway through the second half, upstart Lewis had Farley in a fourth and short situation just shy of midfield. Finest coach Mike Healy went to his bread and butter play – a screen pass to wide receiver Kim Crehan to convert the first down for Farley.

The play would propel Farley to its third touchdown of the day – a 14-yard strike from Brittany Baron to Jenny Rolfs – as it thumped Lewis Sunday.

In a game marked by severely contrasting offensive strategies, Farley’s short passing game was easily more consistent.

Baron completed 12-of-15 passes for 115 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Crehan came up with several key third down catches to extend drives and run down the clock.

Lewis, which entered the game winless, exhibited a more drastic approach to its offense, using reverses, draws, an option-reverse pass and a Statue of Liberty play. The results were mixed, as Lewis often found the plays disrupted by Farley’s star linemen Laurie Blasé and Megan Spokes.

“We have 27 different blitz packages,” Healy said of his team’s strong defensive play. “We tell our players to play as dirty as possible. If you can get away with it, go for it.”

Lewis struggled offensively throughout the first half. Its first possession showed promise when a tipped ball was caught for a 37-yard gain on the second play of the game. However, things took a bad turn after that for the Chicks, as they were only able to muster 48 total first half yards.

Following a missed fourth down attempt, Farley drove downfield, only to be intercepted in the end zone. The Finest held Lewis at bay, forcing a punt, and getting a solid return to inside the Chicks 20. Four plays later, Baron hit Crehan from a yard out to give Farley a 6-0 lead. The touchdown was set up by an impressive catch and run by Annie Parrett.

Farley extended its lead to 13-0 just before halftime on a 30-yard bomb from Baron to Diane Duran.

Lewis answered on the opening possession of the second half, first by converting a third and long with a 40-yard scramble, and then cutting the lead in half with a one-yard quarterback draw.

Farley then meticulously moved the ball down field against an energized Lewis defense. Meghan Hurt picked off the Chicks quarterback deep in Lewis territory, allowing for a four-yard toss to Crehan to cap the scoring.

Healy was very pleased with the win, but also focused on what lies ahead for his team.

“Having really good players makes it easy to take a team to the playoffs,” he said. “All I care about now is Farley making a run in the playoffs.”

Pangborn 18, Breen-Phillips 13

With just two minutes remaining, Breen-Phillips tried to run out the clock to secure its 13-12 lead over unbeated Pangborn. Unable to acquire a first down, the Babes gave the ball back to the Phoxes with just 37 seconds remaining. The Phoxes had to move 58 yards with no timeouts to pull out a victory.

That wasn’t a problem for Pangborn as the Phoxes beat Breen-Phillips Sunday.

Two quick 20-yard passes put the Phoxes in the red zone with less than 20 seconds to play. A pass interference penalty moved them even closer to the goal line. With seven seconds remaining, the Phoxes had one final play – a 13-yard pass to a wide-open receiver in the corner of the end zone to pull out the win for the Phoxes.

“I think that we came out really strong. We got a little lax in the middle and we were a little worried there for a while,” Pangborn senior Katie Mooney said. “But the last drive, we drove down the entire field and scored. [This game] shows that we have a lot to work on but it also shows that we have a lot of heart.”

Pangborn’s defense hindered the Babes, who were unable to get anything going on offense early. On the other hand, the Phoxes were able to move the ball at will, converting on three consecutive third downs.

The momentum shifted late in the first half. Pangborn looked for its third touchdown, but a tipped pass was intercepted by the Babes’ secondary, giving them two minutes to try to score. The Babes traveled 60 yards downfield on a series of passes, capping off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass right before the half.

The second half began like the first as the Phoxes moved the ball downfield on their initial possession. Unable to score on fourth and goal, the Phoxes turned the ball over on downs but were able to regain possession with a defensive stop.

The Babes were in trouble as the Phoxes were up 12-6 and had possession with just six minutes to play. With the season on the line, the Babes came up with a huge defensive stop, causing Pangborn to go three-and-out for the first time of the game. The Babes offense took advantage of its possession, scoring in just three minutes and converting the extra point to go ahead 13-12.

Pangborn was left with three minutes on the clock, and its undefeated status looked endangered. After moving the ball for a first down, the Phoxes hopes shriveled when they were picked off by the Babes’ secondary for the second time of the game. The Babes excitement grew as an upset looked possible. But the late heroics of the Phoxes were too much for the Babes.

“We played great and we played our hearts out. It just didn’t turn out our way in the end,” BP’s Sarah Ball said. “We’ve gotten better every game. Knowing that we can play against the best team in our conference and be in the game gives us a lot of confidence.”

Walsh 7, Badin 0

Walsh wide receiver Molly McCarthy caught a five-yard touchdown pass to give the Wild Women a win over Badin Sunday.

McCarthy’s touchdown would prove to be the only score in a defensive struggle in Walsh’s second consecutive win over the Bullfrogs.

“We sort of knew what to expect, having played them earlier in the week,” Walsh coach Brian Fallon said. “We played with a lot of intensity. Our momentum helped out a lot.”

The Bullfrogs failed in their attempts to get their offense started, as the Walsh defense tightened. This defensive effort gave the Wild Women great field position throughout the first half.

In the second half, Badin had an easier time moving the ball, converting often on third and fourth downs. But the Walsh’s defense again proved to be too much, batting down passes and making crucial stops.

“We are happy to be going into the playoffs with a winning streak,” Fallon said. “We have a lot of momentum and we know what we’re doing.”


u Pasquerilla West won Sunday due to a McGlinn forfeit.